MUMBAI: India's TV broadcasters have been ramping up their advertising expenditure in digital this past year to the point where it may now account for up to one quarter of the total.

This picture emerged from anecdotal evidence as Exchange4media spoke to senior figures within the industry.

Chetan Asher, CEO of digital agency Tonic Media, identified two distinct trends, the first being that much of the digital investment he had seen was property driven, the second that the digital focus was centred on social media.

Viacom 18 confirmed the development. "There has very clearly been an increased focus on digital year on year," said Nina Elavia Jaipuria, VP & Business Head – Kids Cluster. "Digital is most definitely a part of our plans when we are looking at building a show through engagements around its characters." In her case, however, much of that had been the broadcaster's own digital platforms.

At MTV India, Sumeli Chatterjee, Head – Marketing, Media & Insights, put a figure to the trend. "Almost a fourth of our marketing efforts are targeted towards digital including mobile and web," she said.

Given the amount of time people are now spending on digital platforms, broadcasters have little choice but to follow viewers there. "The average time spent there is almost the same as it is on the television screen," pointed out Pradeep Hejmadi, Business Head, ZEE TV. "We don't have an option of saying this is not a place where we would invest."

The form that investment takes varies, with games proving a recent popular tactic. For its Keymon Ache show, for example, Nickelodeon created the game 'Keymon O Fish' which also won the Best Mobile Application (games) at the annual MOBBYS awards.

The targeting possibilities of digital were an attraction for Sangeetha Aiyer, VP & Head Marketing, A+E Networks TV18. "Digital allows you to segment your target audience closely [to] exactly the people who will be interested in your content," she said.

And that meant less money was wasted. "For instance a particular amount spent on traditional media, the ROI on that, say there is wastage of 20%," she said, but "wastage of spends on digital will be 1% or 2%".

Data sourced from Exchange4media; additional content by Warc staff