Just Dance which aired across the Star network, was the first entertainment program to be simulcast in India. More recently, Star did it again with Satyamev Jayate (SMJ), the first show to be simulcast in six languages across C&S and terrestrial homes, bringing Star and Doordarshan together, besides ETV Telugu.
Other GECs have explored this option as well. The second season of MTV’s music reality show Coke Studio, and Zee’s Ramayan, are part of the simulcast story, both airing on Doordarshan. Now Colors and Sahara have launched their reality singing show Sur-Kshetra, which incidentally also airs on Geo TV in Pakistan.
1. One of the driving factors behind a simulcast is the massive viewership it helps generate. Raj Nayak, chief executive officer, Colors, says, “According to us, reach is the key. With the increase in global reach through a simulcast across three networks, we are able to reach out to a larger cross section of audience thereby building engagement. Shows that attempt to reach out to mass audiences would undoubtedly do well through simulcasts.” Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer, Havas Media, adds, “Simulcast helps to bring in new viewers, which the channel would not be able to do on its own. For a show like SMJ, a simulcast made a lot of sense to reach the masses and the choice of Star and DD was a great choice.” Star TV claims that SMJ was watched by 49 crore people.
2. A by-product of simulcasting is the fragmentation of audiences in markets where both the channels broadcasting the show are present. Nayak notes, “While it’s true that simulcasting the show will fragment the viewer base, the increase in global reach will also allow us to reach out to a larger cross-section of audiences and win us new audiences.” Rakesh Endlaw, head- Adbur, Dabur’s media buying arm, says, “What I have seen is that a simulcast usually happens in cases where audiences are different on the two channels. As far as Colors and Sahara One are concerned, there is very little duplicated reach. DD and Star audiences are completely different. No channel would want to kill its audience by telecasting on a rival channel.”
3. Simulcasting helps channels garner revenues too. Commenting on Dabur’s sponsorship of Sur-kshetra, Endlaw says, “If Sur-Kshetra was not simulcast along with Colors, we may not have taken it at all. A simulcast makes a lot of corporate sense as we are addressing different audiences in a single telecast.”
The added advantage simulcast offers is that the sponsor can choose the broadcaster depending on which brand it wants to push and which markets it wants to explore. Endlaw explains, “It is possible to run a different ad on Colors and a different one on Sahara one. This is an advantage because there could be certain brands for which we would target the Sahara markets of UP and Bihar, and there could be other brands for which we could cover through Colors.”
4. Dabur India was the associate sponsor of both SMJ and Ramayan that aired on Doordarshan and not on private satellite channels. Rates and RoI play a role in determining the choice of channel, as does the choice of associating with a particular kind of show. Nayyar explains, “When you know that the show is very good, and you want to be associated with it, but don’t have a very large budget, you can opt for the lower priced channel even if it means a lower reach.”
5. Currently, Big CBS Networks is airing America’s Got Talent on three of its channels and will air India’s Prime Icon on Big CBS Prime and BloombergTV India soon. On the future for simulcasts, Endlaw surmises, “It will continue because from the channel’s point of view they are able to recover monies better. From the advertisers point of view it would be different for different advertisers - for us, it helps cater to different markets as long as the deals are efficient, which they were in this case.”
What it means for…
- Option of selecting channels based on budget and reach
- Ease to reach different markets with different ads
- Increased viewership
- Increased revenue
- Shared cost of content