Geotarget Appoints Pitchfork Partners as Strategic Communication Consultants

Update Geotarget, India’s most trusted narrowcast advertising
solutions provider, has appointed Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting LLP to advise on communication strategies. 

Since inception in 1991, Update has led the evolution of India’s local narrowcasting ecosystem. The Update Geotarget platform optimises campaign effectiveness and delivers brand messages through its network of 2,500 FTA narrowcast TV channels. Targeting can be drilled down to urban, rural, states, socio-cultural regions, districts and cities. 

With its innovative offerings, Update Geotarget helps brands reach audiences through relevant messaging via narrowcasting amidst the chaos of satellite television. It enables hyper-localisation of content to bridge the gap in regional communication.

Update Geotarget offers a formidable network, which provides the touchpoint for audiences that speak various dialects and languages across 120 million households.

Pitchfork Partners will spearhead visibility and awareness for Update Geotarget and the evolution of the local narrowcasting ecosystem. Pitchfork Partners will strategise and execute Update Geotarget’s communication, while supporting it with analytics to aid its growth and strengthen its narrative.

Sharad Alwe, Co-founder and Managing Director, Update Geotarget, said: “Pitchfork Partners shares our passion and beliefs. We are positive that their expertise will play a pivotal role in the success of our communication agenda. We see a huge opportunity for sustained growth and Pitchfork has the credentials to assist us.”

Jaideep Shergill, Co-founder, Pitchfork Partners, added: “Update Geotarget has been a leading force in the local narrowcasting ecosystem. They have led a groundbreaking ecosystem which goes beyond digital and reaches consumers across India. We are extremely proud to work with an innovator like Update and look forward to this new journey with optimism and spirit.”


Update Geotarget awards digital mandate to Mirum India

Mirum India will support Update Geotarget with a bouquet of digital services across Brand Planning, Media Planning and Social Media Management

Update Geotarget and Mirum India

Update Geotarget, a leading provider of groundbreaking products and innovative services for Local Narrowcasting, has signed on Mirum India for servicing social media marketing and media planning.

Mirum India, recognized as one of the leading digital solutions agencies with a pan-India footprint, will support Update Geotarget with a bouquet of digital services across Brand Planning, Media Planning and Social Media Management.

India is going through a phase of hyper-local conversations, and it has become vital for brands and companies to reach the audience via the right platform and content, amidst the ever-rising competition. In such an increasingly cluttered marketing landscape and tough business environment, brands need more efficient and impactful ways to reach audiences. As resonance among the audience gets tougher, brands are looking for ways to target better – through geography, relevance and behavioural patterns of the target audience.

By onboarding Mirum India for their digital mandate, Update Geotarget is aiming to expand their presence across media to achieve elated brand communication with relevant narratives.

Sharad Alwe, Co-founder and Managing Director, Update Geotarget, said, “We are thrilled to have Mirum India onboard for managing our digital mandate. Mirum India has a proven track record and understanding of emerging marketing trends. With Mirum’s digital and brand marketing proficiency, we hope to build visibility for our initiatives and achieve our business goals. Mirum’s expertise and industry insight will allow us to reach brands and marketers across India.”

Since inception in 1991, Update has been offering pioneering products and services, consistently aiding the evolution of the Local Narrowcasting ecosystem.

The Update Geotarget Platform is designed to optimise campaign effectiveness and deliver the brand message through 2500 FTA Narrowcast TV channels drilled down to Urban, Rural, States, SCRs, Districts & Cities. Delivering through narrowcast platforms is an impactful, cost-effective way of drilling down to the local level for contextual engagement.

Sanjay Mehta, Co-founder and CEO, Mirum India, said, “Reach and relevance is the need of the hour for brands, and Update’s Geotarget platform is eradicating the gap between digital and mainline with the help of innovative solutions. This has presented us with an opportunity to explore the sweet spot between the two areas with a perfect partner. Update is at the forefront of the evolution of the narrowcasting ecosystem, and with our knowledge of the current marketing scenario, we hope to support them with our digital solutions and build value for the brand and the services. We are thrilled and excited to work closely with Update Geotarget and expand our horizon, as well.”


Update’s Sharad Alwe on the evolution of Advertising on Cable

Update advertising, a Cable Advertising Agency is the only All-India Advertising concessionaire for a lot of MSOs, over 10.7 CR households, spanning across 2192 Class I, II and III towns.

Sharad Alwe, Founder and MD of Update Advertising, is the man behind the success of Update. Over the years Update has made Cable Regional the media choice for corporates pan-India and has now introduced services in rural towns with a population of below 1 lakh.

In this Straight Talk, Sharad Alwe talks about the journey, the evolution of Cable advertising in India and a lot more.

Read More.

How has been your journey? How did you start Update Advertising?

Cable Movie channels gave birth to the Indian entertainment industry in the pre-1990s period.The Indian viewer at large was craving for TV entertainment and was limited to content on the DD platform.

Within two years, the popularity of Cable Movie channels spread like wildfire and covered the length and breadth of the country.

Cable movie channels offered a relatable content mix of the latest regional movies and started entertaining our 100 CR movie-loving Indians.

In the mid-’90s, an article published in Brand Equity (The Economic Times) showcased that viewership of regional cable channels was 70% higher than the combined viewership of national satellite channels (Star, Zee, Sony)

Till date, movie channels deliver the highest reach, even more than GEC channels.

I saw this as a huge opportunity to connect advertisers to regional and hyper-local consumers.

Thus began our journey of aggregating regional cable channels and creating a unique multilingual narrowcast Ad platform. This was the foundation of UPDATE Advertising.

Tell us about the services offered by Update Advertising and how is the advertisement on cable channels different from satellite channels?

Update Advertising offers a unique Narrowcasting Platform with inventory on 2500 channels Pan-India, covering 29 States, 650 Districts, 92 SCRs and 200+ cities.

What’s relevant here is the bouquet of FTA channels offers regional, relatable and relevant content which is tailored to the hyperlocal viewer.

Our geo-target product allows advertisers to slice and dice basis geo-location and behavioral / media consumption patterns.

Our properties include in-content, call-to-action, logo adverts, and long form brand stories. We also offer STB based solutions such as EPG and boot-up that have high impact, high frequency, with up to 6 Bn impressions per day.

Brands and Marketers can build campaigns basis their specific requirements, whether brand reach out or programmatic needs, and can select top cities, only regional, or a mix of both.

For example, our E-commerce clients prefer targeting their top 60 revenue generating towns. On the other hand, FMCG and Auto clients want district level penetration. At Update, we specialize in building bespoke campaign solutions for brands.

What according to you is more important for a marketer? Mapping trends or setting them?

In today’s digital world, marketing campaigns are extremely dynamic in nature. With the number of mediums that are available to augment traditional TV or Print efforts, today’s marketer needs to continuously map, measure and evolve.

Our flagship product, the Update geotarget narrowcasting platform is built on the same principle, with measurable metrics and real-time data for marketers.

In the current explosion of OTT platforms and digital content all-around a viewer, how difficult has it become for the brands to reach their target audience through cable TV channels?

These mediums are not comparable. Our viewership reach is 120 Mn Households, in over 640 Districts and over 8000 townships Pan India. Post 2019 TRAI NTO, the availability of our channels is 100%.

Advertisements are viewed in a relaxed atmosphere, at home, in a completely unobtrusive manner, on a big screen, with the advantage of being able to communicate the same messaging multi-lingually. We’ve been doing multi-lingual distribution long before Amazon and Google built their multi-lingual strategy to communicate with the many Bharats within India.

While the OTT platforms have decent traction in recent times, In a country like India, where 90% of its population live beyond metros, and regional languages reign supreme, the jury is out on whether they will replace Cable viewership in Households. I believe this is a distant possibility.

Further, small screen display advertising, whether AV or static, has a limited impact, and is quite obtrusive.

How has advertising on cable channels evolved in the past decade?

There has been a complete sea-change, which has led to a significant increase in wallet share and mindshare among brands and media planners.

There have been two significant events.

In 2017, cable distribution was digitised, and we all moved from the analog to digital STB. This resulted in higher reach, quality content, regional channels with superior programming. This allowed for large clients like HUL, Flipkart, Maruti, Vodafone, Nestle and many more to include cable as a serious, scalable medium that delivers the message effectively down to the last mile.

More recently, the TRAI New Tariff Order gave consumers the right to choose the channels they want to pay for, and watch. While this has had significant downward impact on the availability of satellite channels, the cable FTA channels are part of the default channels with 100% availability across India, and we have inventory on 2500 available channels.

Both these events allowed us to build and promote our update geotarget narrowcasting platform, with high reach, high availability, quality regional content, and the ability to message multi-lingually.

What is the most popular Ad which has created buzz on cable TV channels all over India?

Janalakshmi Microfinance wanted to reach out to their main TG, young self-employed women, to help them understand how they can use Janalakshmi’s credit facilities for self-upgradation.

Update ran a long form AV in 8 languages across 11 revenue markets. This built tremendous traction for their day-long workshops, and was a celebrated success.

What are your plans for 2020?

Our plan is to take our Ad delivery mechanism to the next level, with superior targeting technologies, seamless campaign creation platforms, and Live campaign performance dashboards, which will help our marketers build and manage campaigns better.


Geo-targeting in ‘Bharat’ is the next big wave for TV in India

As brands include hyperlocal targeting and multilingual communication as part of their marketing strategies, cable TV channels provide an effective medium…

The race for connectivity to 1.2 billion Indians has intensified in 2019. From international technology giants like Amazon and Google, to homegrown companies like PayTM and PhonePe, everyone is fighting for the India-2 or the‘Bharat’ consumer.

Goods and services providers have clearly understood the necessity to communicate and market to consumers locally and regionally. “Hyperlocal” and “multi-lingual” have become buzzwords and form an intrinsic part of a brand manager’s brief to agencies.

While there is a lot of noise on hyperlocal and multi-lingual now, the best brands in FMCG, auto, and retail have been driving their regional messaging through cable television for the past two decades. With connectivity to 160 Mn households pan-India, cable becomes an extremely efficient platform for regional outreach, so much so that even today’s technology companies are now taking advantage of the highly targeted local reach that cable advertising offers.

What has made cable advertising even more compelling, was the change in availability post TRAI‘s (Telecom regulatory Authority of India) new tariff order in early 2019.

Now, as consumers can pick and choose what pay channels they want on cable, one recent survey * shows that average availability of channels per household dropped from 600+ channels to 130 channels.

While general entertainment channels’ (GECs) availability dropped to around 50% of pre-NTO availability, the free-to-air (FTA) cable channels offered are part of the default package.

As a result of this, cable TV channels still maintain 100% availability with hyperlocal cable channels pan-India, with high quality regional, relevant and relatable content across movies, news, music, and devotional genres.

What makes the cable channels relevant and relatable is that the programming and content is driven by viewer interests, from the ground up, at a regional level. This gives advertisers the comfort of communicating with a highly engaged audience.

These hyperlocal regional advertising platforms allow media planners to slice and dice priority market clusters based on location and behavioral media consumption patterns at a Pan India level.

A highly engaged audience combined with ‘hyper-localization’ helps create contextual and impactful brand and performance campaign strategies. The advertising options are in the form of TVCs (television commercials), in-content display solutions, call-to-action display solutions, logo adverts, and long form brand stories.

Cable advertisers are now taking ad delivery mechanisms to the next level. With superior targeting technologies, seamless campaign creation platforms, and live campaign performance dashboards, this will bring the true digital experience to marketers and media planners.

The author is the co-founder and managing partner, Update Geotarget – Narrowcast Advertising Solutions.

Festive cheer for cable TV industry with nearly 40% growth in ad sales despite slowdown

Factors such as good reach and better targeting making cable TV more attractive for advertisers than bigger channels


At a time when satellite channels are going through an all-time low with slow ad sales even during the festive season, cable TV channels are having a cheerful spell when it comes to ad bills. The cable TV sector in India, as per industry estimates, is seeing ad spends of at least Rs 200 crore annually at present, and 35 per cent of it comes from sale of inventory in the festive period.

According to media buyers, there has been a 40 per cent surge in sale of ad inventory on cable television as compared to the festive season last year.

“This festive season has shown an increase in spends to the tune of 50 per cent across our clients who have found good ROI using our geo-targeted offer. We have a set of advertisers who target anywhere from 3-4 markets to about 45-60 markets at a city, district and SCR (socio cultural region) level. These advertisers target tier 2/3 consumers who are avid viewers of local and relatable content on the cable ecosystem. These advertisers consist of large retail chains, e-tail companies and FMCG companies who co relate their input to output ratio and base their decisions on ROI,” said Sharad Alwe, Managing Director at cable advertising agency Update.

While players like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Johnson & Johnson, Phone Pe, Maruti, Renault, and Honda have taken to cable television to advertise themselves, Alwe says FMCG majors like Procter & Gamble, who had exited cable TV in terms of advertising, has reappeared on the platform this festive season.

There are several new entrants as well. “For us, the festive season starts during Navratri and goes on till the end of wedding season, and hence, a host of jewellery brands have started advertising with us. “We have got on board Kalyan Jewellers, PC Jewellers and PNG Jewellers this festive season,” said Shritesh Dubey, Marketing Manager at Madhya Pradesh-based cable TV network DIGIANA.

DIGIANA claims to have done ad sales to the tune of Rs 1 crore last festive season and has already made close to 60 per cent more this season.

“We are looking at doubling our festive season revenue from ad sales compared to last year,” Dubey said. With 16 lakh viewers across Madhya Pradesh, Dubey claims their cable channels offer the reach brands are looking for at the regional, tier 2 and tier 3 level.

Reach is one of the biggest factors why brands have taken to advertising on cable TV.

“There is 100% reach due to the NTO norms for cable, clubbed with the fact that in the tier2 and tier3 towns, the best option for the advertisers to get the TV viewing audiences is geo-targeted narrowcast cable channels. The movie channels are an attractive bet and so are the news and music channels which give local flavour in terms of news and entertainment,” said Alwe.

There are four formats for advertising on cable TV channels. Advertisers can choose between EPG (electronic programming guide) advertising spaces, bootup spaces, LBAND inventory or normal commercial inventory to advertise on cable TV channels.

The ad slot rates at the district level are between Rs 20/10 seconds and Rs 30/10 seconds, at the SCR (socio cultural region) level, the rates go up to between Rs 200/10 seconds and Rs300/10 seconds, whereas at the state level, the rates are higher and stand at Rs1,000/10 seconds to Rs 1,200/10 seconds.

“While broadcasters are announcing festive offers of reduced subscription prices, cable TV channels are increasing inventory price by close to 10 per cent in certain cases. While the scale of sales between satellite channels and cable TV channels cannot be compared, the latter is doing more business than the last season only because satellite channels have lost viewers in the last one year and have become expensive too. Advertisers are hence cashing cable TV channels which are cheap and are geo targeted in the present times which guarantees targeted reach,” said a media expert.