HLL is conspicuous by its absence on ZEE TV these days. The ad spend of the company for the current fiscal, at a guesstimate, is roughly pegged at around Rs 900 crore.. Not unlike most FMCG majors, it spends a major chunk of its advertising budget on television.
And right now it does not find ZEE worthy of a share in its media pie. The company was earlier sponsoring one of the more successful programmes on the channel, Close Up Antakshree - the sponsorship came to an end when airing of Antakshree was suspended in the month of September. When the musical game show comes back on air in November, it would be sponsored by Sansui.
Though HLL was keen on sponsoring the programme, the channel and the advertiser could not reach an agreement on the sponsorship price, and Sansui walked away with, perhaps, the hottest property on the channel.
When asked if the FMCG major had an embargo on ZEE network, said Debasis Ray, the HLL spokesperson said, "Nothing of the sort. Advertising on a channel, to a large extent, depends on TRPs, TG profile and the cost of reaching them. Right now ZEE is not proving to be the best option. However, we are there on Alpha Bangali and other regional channels from ZEE, where it makes a lot of sense for us." However, he refused to comment on any ongoing discussions between the channel and HLL
Is it just the CPRP, that is a turn off for the FMCG behemoth, or is it a fall off of Close up losing out on sponsorship rights for Antakshree? Says Vikaram Sakhuja, Managing Director, MindShare - Fulcrum, media agency for HLL, "Whenever there is a deal mutually agreeable to both the parties, we would definitely advertise on ZEE. We are always on the look out for good properties. However, the cost of getting the requisite audience is not suiting us right now. At the end of the day it is about getting certain number of people, certain number of times at a viable cost. Nonetheless, we are in talks, and will sign a deal at some stage or the other."
Is not getting a share of huge TV spends by HLL proving to be a major setback for the channel? Says Apoorva Purohit, President, ZEE TV, "All our ad slots are full - commercial time consumption is 100%. However, HLL is a very important client for us and we are in constant negotiations with them."
Interestingly Colgate, P&G, Cadbury, Whirlpool and most other big spenders are there on ZEE. Colgate has, according to sources, put in a lot of money on the channel, as the main sponsor for Thursday Blockbusters. What do these brands see on ZEE, which the number one advertiser is missing out on? Or, is there more to it than meets the eye.