Noel D'souza
Apr 01, 2024

'Linear TV retains its dominance during election seasons due to its extensive reach': Republic Media Network's Hersh Bhandarii

Recently appointed CEO of Republic Media Network's broadcast business, Hersh Bhandarii, discusses his new role, existing broadcast channels, future expansion plans and offerings amidst the IPL and upcoming elections.

'Linear TV retains its dominance during election seasons due to its extensive reach': Republic Media Network's Hersh Bhandarii

In November last year, Republic Media Network elevated Hersh Bhandarii to oversee national operations for all its existing broadcast channels and lead future growth initiatives for new channel launches. Before this, he held the role of COO at Republic Media Broadcast.

In the build-up to the general elections next month amidst the ongoing IPL season in the country, Bhandari caught up for a quick chat with Campaign India on the network's programing for elections, its strategy to woo advertisers with innovative brand solutions, its CTV offerings, and more.

Read on for the edited excerpts. 

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) and election season coinciding, why do you believe advertisers should choose the election over IPL?

Given the overlapping schedules of the IPL and the election season, advertisers have already committed to both platforms. Indian advertisers are well aware that the election season typically delivers ROI. For instance, the 2019 elections reached 80 crore people, while the 2023 IPL reached only 51 crore people. Despite having similar audience profiles, the Effective Rate per 10 seconds (ER) on any news network is lower than that of the IPL. Therefore, advertisers recognise the unparalleled reach and impact of the election season, making it a preferred choice for maximising their returns on investment.
Do you see connected TV versus linear TV advertising playing a significant role in this election season, considering Group M's 2023 report that connected TV reached 25 million households in India?
Absolutely. Despite the growth of connected TV (CTV) advertising, linear TV retains its dominance during election seasons due to its extensive reach. While Group M's 2023 report highlights CTV's 25 million household reach in India, linear TV's estimated 88 crore (880 million) viewership in the news genre far surpasses it. With networks like Republic Media having 44 crore (440 million) viewers, linear TV remains the go-to platform for advertisers targeting diverse audiences during elections, offering unparalleled reach and impact. The game is reach and penetration the brand requires.
What's your view on the landing page and news channels pricing debate for news broadcasters? How do you see the news genre faring in terms of a viewership spike during this election season?
Assuming that placing a product guarantees consumption is naive; sustainability requires more than mere placement for the brand as well as from a P&L perspective.
The debate isn't about fairness; it's about recognising abnormal reach and channel ratings, with excessive reliance on long-term landing page strategies revealing weaknesses in product and content. Today, the industry at large is far more aware of this and takes a conscious call beyond what they see with landing impact

Can you elaborate on the key partnerships and collaborations Republic World has forged with prominent brands and advertisers to enhance its linear advertising during the election season?
I'm proud to highlight our strategic partnerships with eight to 10 top brands, enhancing our linear advertising during the election season, branded as 'India Ka Asli Tyohaar' (India's real festival).These collaborations, particularly significant for first-time advertisers, enable us to fuel engaging pre-election discussions within our genre. With our estimated reach of 100 crore voters, these partnerships offer unmatched visibility and engagement opportunities, amplifying our impact during this crucial period.
What innovative approaches is Republic World exploring in terms of delivering innovative brand solutions to their clients during the election season?"
As we delve into this critical election period, I'm excited to share our innovative approach at Republic Media Network. This year, we're focusing on building emotional bonds between our clients and viewers through our "One Vertical One Innovation" strategy. Instead of just traditional methods of sponsorships, we're delivering personalised brand solutions that deeply resonate. This approach showcases our commitment to creativity and effectiveness, setting us apart in the industry. You will see a lot more in this space from us in the next one month.
Campaign India

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