If the Tamil Nadu experiment succeeds, AIR is expected to launch the scheme throughout the country.
Public broadcaster All India Radio hopes to increase its business from small advertising agencies through a new credit scheme, which it will try out in Tamil Nadu shortly.
Until now, credit was offered only to accredited agencies. And to get accredited, agencies had to have done business with AIR for a minimum of Rs 5 lakh over a two-year period.
Those that couldn't make the cut (many of the smaller agencies couldn't) had to pay in advance to schedule slots for their clients on AIR. The Prasar Bharati's Marketing Director, Mr V. V. Subramanian, said, "Because of the advance payment clause, many small agencies couldn't do business with us beyond a limit."
Not any more. With a bank guarantee for a minimum of Rs 2 lakh, registered agencies can avail themselves of credit for 75 per cent of the amount (Rs 1.5 lakh, in this case) within 30 days.
If they pay the amount, or a part of it, the credit will get replenished to that extent. If they don't pay on time, then AIR has the bank guarantee to fall back upon.
The accredited agencies already enjoy a 45-day credit period, and are, therefore, unlikely to opt for the new scheme.
Apart from getting AIR more business, the new scheme will benefit agencies, as they themselves work on a credit basis with their clients, said Mr Subramanian.
If the Tamil Nadu experiment succeeds, AIR is expected to launch the scheme throughout the country. Approval to operate a similar scheme for Doordarshan is awaited.
The Chennai marketing division of Prasar Bharati has over 50 registered agencies and 20 accredited ones in its list. The division earned Rs 6 crore in 2004-05 for AIR, whose all-India revenues crossed Rs 160 crore that year.
Sans big-time cricket and election-related campaigns, which propped up media revenues last year, the marketing unit here expects to earn at least Rs 7.5 crore in 2005-06.