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 Improving RoI for TV channels, true challenge for broadcasters
Mumbai March 16, 2003
 Noor Fathima Warsia

Some of the most happening names of the media industry got together for the session discussing the improvement of RoI for television. To match that, the hall had a full audience as well. CNN's Andrew Stevens moderated the session that was more of a discussion than presentation. The panelists included Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media, Sunil Lulla, EVP SET, Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV, Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison Media, Soumitra Saha, VP, Regional Ad and Licensing Sales, Turner International, Asia Pacific.

The aim of the session was to answer the question, 'If programmes were brands, would Kotler need to be rewritten'. "Yes," was what Steve Marcopoto, President and MD, Turner International, replied, "Apart from Kotler's 4 Ps, I think there should be two more Ps of politics, given the CAS and TRAI scenario and, of course, public opinion."

He further went on to say that with visionaries like Arun Poorie, television would be a domain that saw qualitative development. The session began with Balsara answering Steve's question that television RoI would improve itself if channels took care of the advertiser RoI.

He suggested that channels should look at cutting programming cost and ensure that they have better revenues from subscription than just advertisements. To which Lulla replied, "That's a typical case of give me more, charge me less!" Lulla went on to present his side of the business wherein he believes that RoI can be improved on a two-fold level-- powerful content and its effective marketing.

He made a point that efforts should result in more sampling everyday. "I agree with Sunil," Krishnan said, adding, "The consumer should know more about the programme."

Taking the line forward, Screwvala expressed that the product was primary and that would drive people to a channel, which is what every advertiser wants. The panelists observed different tactics of the past like international formats and differentiated content that resulted in successful television products.

Balsara pointed here that in the past three years the advertisers' RoI from television had decreasing steeply. Labelling this as an issue of concern, he expressed that advertisers were moving away from the medium and that the category was growing only because of the coming in of new advertisers.

Nayak responded that tomorrow's target would be a concentrated and high involvement one due to fragmentation and that advertiser would have to pay a premium for that target. Lulla, seconded that, saying, "We would soon have to look into demographic segmentation, more than anything else."

The session ended on the agreement that in the current scenario with the availability of various mediums, TV is the biggest stimulator. Krishnan added that one way of going forward now to increase returns is to expand market by increasing distribution.