The INX Media Network has been taking various steps that would put television ad sales in the ‘2007 league’. From a Club INX that places advertisers in Platinum, Gold and Silver stratas, the Network has now published its rate card on its website, Inxnetwork.in. The AdValue tab on this site not only has the rate cards but also various packages ranging in different values, from channels to individual programmes.
Probal Gaanguly, Group Director, Revenue Management, Advertising Sales and New Media, INX Media, said, “We have been clear from the beginning that we want to be transparent and bring in evolved and new practices that are of global standards in our selling. The channels are still very new, and we are looking at different ways of giving the advertisers choices to experience us.”
The online ad selling initiative was made live on November 29, 2007. The Network has taken out 160,000 seconds and created 20 packages out of this, with three different values – Rs 9 lakh, Rs 27 lakh and Rs 54 lakh. While 12 clients can buy the Rs 9 lakh packs, there are only two Rs 54 lakh packages available. As the packages sell, the channel will update the site. At 8.40 pm on December 1, 2007, three Rs 9 lakh packs, and one Rs 12 lakh package had been sold.
Gaanguly explained that while on the one level there was Club INX with its members paying a certain rate given the stratum they were in, on the other hand, INX Network had designed packages with “absolute floor prices” to encourage advertisers to experience the channel. The Network intends to change the pricing every month, depending on the changes that the channel wants to bring in given its performance and advertiser feedback.
He further said, “Different industries have done this earlier, like the airline industry, where they have deals for a particular month, and if you book in that much time, you might get the deal, and if you come back later, you may or may not get it. We will have different packages – at present the channel is new, so we can afford to take so much time out and create packages, but this will change in the coming months.”
The rates of the packages are the final rates and not negotiable. Gaanguly explained, “In the current style of working, we go to different advertisers and close deals on the basis of the negotiation. We have eliminated all that process with this. There is no debate on the rates that we are offering at present and the value that clients get from this.”
Does this make the system rigid? He replied, “Not at all. There is enough built-in flexibility. There are programme wise packages, and depending on the needs of the clients, we can change and give them different solutions that could be a combination of different packages.”
Will the Club INX clients have a problem if other advertisers take advantage of much lower rates? “I don’t think that advertisers are so short-sighted,” replied Gaanguly, adding, “The Club members have been given many advantages and they are our partners in the long run.”
The media fraternity does agree that what INX has done is innovative, but senior media hands still want to wait and watch before giving a comment on this move. It remains to be seen whether INX can implement this in the long run. STAR India had embarked on a similar initiative in July 2005, when it had decided to publish its rate card on the Internet with the intention to emphasise on transparency of its operations. The initiative, however, didn’t take off.
“The site is just a few days old. There would be loopholes that we would plug as we move on. However, when you put various options in front of clients, it allows them to choose better, and we have really got into this after thinking it through,” said Gaanguly.