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TAM MICA lecture series draws applause

21-October-2002
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TAM MICA lecture series draws applause

Tam MICA series of workshops came to an end this Saturday with a two day highly interactive session on media buying and channel selling. The speakers on these two days were Jasmine Sorabji of Media Com, Abraham Thomas of Sony, Ravi Kiran of Starcom, Sandeep Tarkas of MindShare, Mallikarjundas of Asian Paints, Sumitra Saha of Turner and LV Krishnan of TAM. The participants were from Madison, ICICI, ITC, BBC, ETV and more.

Almost, everyone agreed that time has come to look at numbers differently. Some of the important issues raised by the speakers were how to reach the right TV viewer, need to focus on brand fit and looking beyond CPRPs. Transparency in the business was advocated by all. The speakers also spoke about the ineffectiveness of bonus time and make good TRPs. They stressed on the need of knowing the properties one is buying/selling first-hand.

The two-day session was highly interactive with the participants and speakers freely joining in the discussion. It brought both the buyers' and sellers' perspective in the open. It also inspired a lot of thought on where industry is headed. Most of the speakers stayed much beyond their lectures and actively participated in discussions.

On the basis of feedback TAM has received, it plans to have such seminars more frequently, instead of once in a blue moon. Said Atul Phadnis, Director S Group, TAM, "The feedback has been pretty encouraging. People found workshops informative and interesting, however they felt that they should be held more often, and hence we have decided to conduct a lecture series every two months, topics, of course, would vary."

Read the gist of the lectures here

Opening the session, Sandeep Tarkas of MindShare focused on the need for strategic media planning, and while choosing a media-mix, the planner has to consider physical characteristics of a media, coverage, economy, entry cost and environment. He stated that Sometimes, use of a second medium can provide incremental reach - for instance press can increase reach in rural areas by 8 to 10%. He talked of market prioritization on basis of socio cultural groups (SCRs), as this classification is far more homogeneous. He also said that 20% TV viewers are light TV viewers, while approximately 50% are heavy TV viewers. Hence a plan delivers differently to different people, and it is important to control wastage by trying a different schedule. Audience fragmentation and more messages in less time - and multi-tasking during commercial breaks were some of the other topics he touched upon.

Jasmine Sorabji of Media Com discussed the paradigm shift changed media scenario has brought in media planning and buying process, where metric now is recall and deliverable is cut through. Some of the interesting topics she discussed were adding value to your media weight, need to move to techniques from tools and importance of reaching light TV viewers. She talked in detail of wholistic measurement of the plan, which considered the RoI and diminishing returns from the point when TRP is just one. She stressed on the point that stickiness of a programme impacted brand recall positively - Telappeal, a MediaCom technique indicates that brand recall might increase by 12% if the telappeal of a programme is 20% higher.

Mallikarjundas of Asian Paints presented 'ramblings of an advertiser'. His main area of focus was the need for more dynamic media buying, in keeping with fast changing media scenario. He stressed that immediate action should be taken if recall/awareness of a campaign is falling, instead of waiting new planning cycle to commence. Some of the other topics he covered included were, need for the media planners and buyers to watch TV and monitor campaigns, realistic costing across programme basket, importance of keeping confidentiality of deals and growing disinterest in bonus TVRs. He stated that it is important to consider whether make good TVRs are junk TVRs or Impact TVRs. Mallikarjundas also touched upon the problems faced by a client in outdoor advertising.

Second day's discussions were started by Abraham Thomas. He spoke on the need of more transparency in the business, need to look beyond numbers, media buying and selling on the basis of brand fit. He stressed that agencies need to use numbers far more judiciously and the broadcasters need to adopt a far more scientific approach. He also touched upon the increasing opportunities for niche channels in the changing scenario. Presenting a seller's perspective, he said that a seller could deliver his best when he is given a proper brief including ad strategy, target audience, priority market, and media objectives and media weights. He defined a dream buyer as one who gives full and correct brief, is honest and transparent on every stage, consumes and understands the medium he buys and encourages the seller to meet the client.

Ravi Kiran of Starcom started his discussion by stating that both sellers and buyers are in the business of selling the client's product, and hence are on the same side of the fence. A dream seller, according to him, is the one who says, 'I love selling, what can I help you sell?' He stressed that most planners and buyers want audiences, not low prices and discounts, and that frequency does not mean a lot of spots round the clock, with very little chance of anyone watching them. He said that programmes are a way of delivering a commercial. He also spoke about the need to understand what brand fit and right ambience means before talking about it, and the need to use learning’s from other markets. He also stated that relationship selling does not work for long, and knowledge and conviction about his product on the sellers' part was very important.

Sumitro Saha of Turner focused on the importance of gut-feel, and alignment of pricing with value. He said that though there are various pricing methods there is a science behind each of them. Same numbers are available to everyone and the trick lies in using those numbers judiciously, was his recommendation. And that is where, according to him gut-feel comes in. He defined gut as the emotion of blending experience with market information. It is a calculated product of experience, self belief and facts'.

LV Krishnan of TAM, the last speaker of the evening talked of using numbers to sell better. Based on a study done by done TAM last July he stated that there are only 11% deals which are thought through, and there is a massive need to increase this approach. And for this we need to be sensitive to brand requirements, understand brand's last years media activity, keeping tab on key competitors and change in TV viewing habits and the value adds one can provide. With the use of research findings and case studies, he indicated that research, indeed, helps in selling and buying media much better.

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