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Starcom focuses on strategic thinking, launches two proprietary tools in India

18-August-2006
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Starcom focuses on strategic thinking, launches two proprietary tools in India

Starcom Mediavest Group has launched two proprietary tools in India – M Orchestra and Tardiis. Of these, Tardiis is one of the most expensive tools that the agency owns globally and India is the seventh market globally and the first market in Asia where this tool has been launched. Starcom system teams from Hong Kong and Sydney and Chicago have worked with the Indian teams to completely customise the tool for the Indian market. Both tools can be used for television planning only.

Speaking on the benefits of these tools, Starcom Mediavest Group, MD, South Asia, Ravi Kiran, explained that in the current scenario, at an average a media professional spent 50 per cent of his time on implementation planning, 40 per cent was spent on client servicing or coordinating, and only 10 per cent was spent on strategic planning or holistic thinking.

Kiran identified this as one of the possible reasons why allegations of deterioration in original thinking in media planning and solutions were made. He said, “Starcom is in a unique position where with the recently launched divisions – Enhance and Expanse – we are probably the most diversified agency that can authentically focus and provide holistic media solutions.”

He brought out the various changes that have taken place in the medium since 2001, where with media proliferation agencies were in a peculiar situation of running very fast to be exactly where they were. Plans have got more complicated and fragmentation has increased choices without increasing anything else like the time to put a campaign on air. This has resulted in professionals spending half their time in the fourth stage of planning, that is, implementation.

The three stages prior to this are strategic planning, followed by pre-negotiation and negotiation. Kiran believed that tools that could reduce the mechanical part and subsequently allow media planners to concentrate on some original thinking.

The common points of both the tools are that they both work on TAM raw data as the base source, both are user-friendly, intuitive and customised for India. While M Orchestra is a GRP (Gross Rating Point) Optimiser, Tardiis, which stands for Target Audience Reach Delivery Inventory Investment System, is a Reach Optimiser.

According to Kiran, the fact that advertisers were looking at reach to be a better measurement than ratings point today, made Tardiis a stronger tool. He further said that unlike X Pert and S’ Midas, which were first generation optimisers, Tardiis was a third generation optimiser. An official communiqué stated that Tardiis was a powerful TV tool suite that could be used for planning, buying, research and analysis. It incorporates a third generation reach optimiser and succeeds the GRP optimisers and the single market reach optimisers.

Some of the salient features Tardiis include, it can work with unlimited inventory, it can handle multiple brands at the same time and can be used for corporate inventory allocation. It is a multi-market reach optimiser and can optimise for any combination of reach, frequency and GRP objectives.

It allows users to combine two different user groups to study combined viewing habits and to plan on households which contain a specific mix of age groups. It can optimise for various copy splits. The final output is a plan which can be rolled out without manual intervention. It is able to handle complex ground buying realities and deal packages – paid versus bonus structure. Also, it can accommodate future changes in programming.

When asked about the benefits it brings to clients, Kiran said, “It brings significant efficiencies on reach based planning, significant value for multi-brand optimisation and corporate allocation and includes inventory management over entire portfolio. It has ability to include qualitative as well as quantitative variables. It has viewer loyalty, client specific learning and relieves the planner of drudgery, freeing up quality time.”

“Resources saved can open up the media choices that a planner has, for example, redeploy the savings in the same medium with more months on air, look at other main stream media like print or non-mainstream media like digital, etc.,” he added.

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