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How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.

Phadnis comes from Planning and Strategy background, having worked with Starcom, HTA and Rediffussion. Phadnis joined TV Audience Measurement [TAM] as Director, S-Group in early 2002 quitting Starcom as Media Director.


Atul Phadnis, Director - S-Group, TAM

Media Planning & Equity Investments Do Media Planners have anything in common with Equity Investors? Well, Media planning professionals, it can be argued, encounter situations just as tricky as those encountered by equity research professionals. That's because, while those in media planning have to understand media behavior to advise clients on which channels and programs to advertise on, those dealing in equities have to understand the stock market to recommend to their clients which stocks they should be buying or selling. In either case, you would find the issues just as challenging… zeroing in on the best deals, predicting what will happen in the future and accurately plotting future trends.

Media Planners look at past trends and predict what kind of viewerships will occur in the future. It used to be easier when there were fewer channels. However, the proliferation continues with the latest channel tally within the TAM viewership database already at 178 channels! Add to this the fact that viewers are becoming increasingly fidgety. The moment a September 11 happens, all viewership trends seem to change. When there is a cricket tournament happening, there is 'disturbance' in normal viewing trends that affects performance of even top channels.

The propagation of Remote-Control sets or frequent changes by channels with newer programs is also not helping viewership stability. A rival channel gets a celebrity show in a prime slot and viewership for the other two channels vibrates violently. And then there are factors, which just cannot be predicted. How in the world can anyone predict viewership fluctuations caused by randomness of Electricity availability for most of viewing hours in Uttar Pradesh? Or the fact that viewerships would go up in Ahmedabad during daytime due to rioting outside? In short, the variables that affect viewership have multiplied dramatically leading to extreme volatility in viewer behavior. And here is where the TV viewing universe starts revealing an uncanny resemblance to the Financial Markets.

Taking the same thought forward, lets look at hardcore equity terminology and its parallels in Media and TV Planning: -

Sensex: This is a broad indicator that signifies the relative position of the stock market across multiple sectors at a given point. The equivalent term in TV Planning is the 'Any TV Viewership', which signifies the Total TV viewed on a particular day/ week. As Planners who follow this number from week-to-week would know, it indicates whether TV viewerships are stable or increasing due to the Cricketing season or dipping due to vacations or exam season. It really signals the 'flavor' of TV viewership… just like the Sensex gives you a feel of the stock market in that period.

Debt Funds, Equity Funds and ICE Stocks: One can equate these concepts with Mass Channels versus Specialist Channels. In investor circles, Debt is supposed to be the safe choice and Equity, the riskier one. Debt offers assured returns while Equity is relatively more volatile. Same is the case with planning Television. The mass entertainment channels viz. Sony, Star Plus, Zee TV usually are regarded as safe, assured returns, low risk (Debt Funds). However, specialist channels (Music, Sports, News, etc) are regarded as high risk - high return propositions, as viewerships are quite volatile within these. You could gain dramatically high returns or sometimes lose heavily. And just as investors keep reviewing the Debt versus Equity mix in their portfolio, advertisers keep revisiting the Mass channels versus Niche mix in their TV plans. In fact, just as ICE stocks are even more risky within Equities, News and Sports are the more volatile options within Specialist channels (more than Music, Infotainment). So the swings and oscillations in these viewerships force the advertiser to make a choice… does he still pick up these specialist channels and hope for an upswing thereby making himself a fortune or would he burn his fingers if he depended too much on them. In this respect, the risk that an advertiser will inherit will be exactly similar to the way an equity investor will assess his own risk due to the exposure to ICE stocks in his portfolio.

Market Sentiment: The Financial Markets are not always driven by all logic and rationale. There is also a strong, underlying Market Sentiment, which is also the case with viewerships. The 'mood of the public' is too compelling a factor to ignore. Yesterday they wanted mythologies… today a game show and tomorrow perhaps family dramas. Consider this… in 2001 all Entertainment Channels had mythologies running very heavily as that was found to have good viewerships. So much so that 38% of telecast time was blocked for mythos and religious programs. But the viewer turned towards News, Game shows and Comedies and dumped mythos. The 38% share of time garnered only 5% share of viewers… a hugely inefficient ROI!

Predictions: The most intriguing part about both professions! How does one correctly predict a phenomenon like the Sensex? Ditto with TV viewerships. I have seen statistical, econometric and mathematical models on both and yet there is only so far that they can go. Once I had a Financial Services advertiser as a client, who insisted that I predict exactly how many viewers would see his commercial in the future based on past performance of the programs that he was buying into. And to top that, we used to buy a lot of News and Sports Channels (the ICE stock in TV Planning). I told him that I could predict within a range, say ±10%, but could not guarantee an exact figure. When he kept pushing me, I asked him to run a test. If he could accurately predict the Sensex for the next month as well as the value of the ICE stocks based on past performance, I would pick up his challenge to accurately predict viewerships. He immediately got the message and agreed to look at a range! Fact of the matter is that viewerships are a function of a lot of other factors beyond habit alone. And upswings and downswings can occur due to a host of factors such as topical events like cricket and film awards, events, mood of the audience, electricity unavailability, exam season, vacations, etc.

Cyclical Stocks: Just as some sectors or stocks on the Stock Exchange are cyclical with typical landscapes of 'mountains and valleys', so are some of the phenomena in TV viewerships. For instance, the viewership for TV itself is not the same level across the year. It falls during exam season, falls further during vacation months and then picks up to peak during festive.

Mutual Funds: In investor lingo this represents an instrument where the risk has been broadbased through wider spreading of the portfolio. The parallels in the TV Planning industry are - RODP (Run of DayPart) Deals or Network Deals. In both cases, the objective is to hedge your bets and get more viewers, reducing your risk whether it's across a wide time-band in an RODP deal or multiple channels in the case of Network deals.

Portfolio Watch: Portfolio managers keep a watch on their portfolio and indicate 'buy', 'sell' or 'hold' recommendations depending on market conditions. Likewise for media planners… who have to keep a track of how viewerships are changing to make necessary changes in their TV plans. And while investors look at the Stock Ticker on CNBC, media planners look at the ratings system to alter their decisions.

As you can see… making money on the Stock Market is just as easy or difficult as buying advertising time on Television! It might not be a bad idea for some of the best planners to try their luck on equities

 
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Towards a meaningful industry integration
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Media specialist: Changing paradigms
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The Changing Indian Woman
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Vision & Mission: Breaking the joojoo
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Too much of a good thing? Research Vs "gut feel"
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Is creativity all about creatiwitty?
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Singapore Airlines – An Excellent Asian Brand
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Changing Black into White!
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STAR POWER – Will the force be with you?
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The True Value of Account Management
- Anisha Motwani, Vice-president, EURO RSCG, New Delhi - 10/4/2004
K-Kapoor Factory, B-Bollywood, C-Cricket…but no crorepatis!
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A Closer Look at Awards
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Moving towards ‘virtual’ PR agencies
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Pepsi and the art of Cool
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Cannes of creativity (no worms need apply)!
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"Budget blues and the rest of the year"
- Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute - 6/24/2004
Understanding Commercial Break Viewing on Television Setting Norms that Promote Effective Buying
- P V Narayanmoorthy, Regional Director, Strategic Resource, Carat - 6/7/2004
“The list of their restrictions can go on forever…….Perhaps they deserve all those many crores that they receive for endorsements. It offsets their suffering, I guess. Except, how come they have all the restrictions and all the money, and I have all the choice, not the power to exercise it?”
- Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute - 5/29/2004
‘Comparing different and unrelated companies often is an acceptable approach if you are looking simply at the operating features of the business rather than their financial performance.’
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty–Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 5/15/2004
"A fully interactive brand channel on UK satellite today exists in what is essentially a walled-garden of some 200 channels, rather than the Wild West of 17 million websites. It reaches more than seven million homes and will drive commerce both electronically and through the brand’s outlets."
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The index could be based on a rating that takes into account agreed parameters/attributes, past-present media coverage/favourability and relevance, ground situation in terms of successful/unsuccessful seasons/tenures, future prospects, etc.
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Instead of a Unique Selling Proposition, let’s start thinking about our Unique Feelings Proposition.
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"India Shining is worth more than a Lion"
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Connecting with the Rural Folks
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THE “INCREDIBLE” BRAND!
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 12/20/2003
7 Highly Effective Ways of Killing a Brand
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"AND WE DRINK THIS STUFF !!"
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Institute of Management, Nirma University - 11/5/2003
Sorry, Cannes Save You.
- G S Shridhar, CEO, Purple Blaze Advertising Consultancy - 10/24/2003
The Context of Existance
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"Oh, you don't work Saturdays" and other taunts!"
- G S Murari, Director, Fidelis Advertising and Marketing - 9/13/2003
"But to say advertising is dead or dying is being somewhat naïve"
- Sushil Bahl, Professor, Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) Ahmedabad - 9/1/2003
Attack of the delight providers
- Ashish Misra, Vice President, The Henley Centre - 7/30/2003
"Creativity on demand with creative aerobics and imagination management"
- Prof. Linda Conway Correll and Sushil Bahl, , - 7/23/2003
"Lessons in Advertising"
- Anand Halve, Co Founder, Chlorophyll - 7/3/2003
"Fees, and not a 15% commission, I am told, are now the order of the day."
- Sumit Roy, Founder Director, Univbrands - 6/2/2003
"The AOR or media agency will continue to grow in importance because this is where one talks money."
- Arun Kumar, Associate Media Director, MPG, Delhi - 5/15/2003
"Does your Marketing Strategy know your Consumer?"
- Ashish Misra, Vice President, The Henley Centre. - 4/26/2003
"Is there an insidious move to undermine the very edifice on which print is built? That of credibility. Is there an attempt to 'commoditise' news? "
- Indrajit Lahiri, Professor of Broadcast, Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communications - 4/15/2003
"Is there an insidious move to undermine the very edifice on which print is built? That of credibility. Is there an attempt to 'commoditise' news? "
- Amitava Guha, GM,, Key Accounts Hindustan Times - 4/1/2003
"Asian companies need to move up the value chain through strategic branding."
- Martin Roll, CEO, VentureRepublic - 3/26/2003
"THE PRICE IS RIGHT (OR IS IT?)" A closer look at the perils of misusing the pricing variable in the marketing mix.
- Anand Halve, Co Founder, Chlorophyll - 3/1/2003
"If today, agencies are under fire, are we, the client, not as responsible for this crisis?"
- Manosh Sengupta, GM, Marketing Communications, Idea Cellular - 2/19/2003
"Media marketing has finally come of age."
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, CEO, Optimedia Indonesia - 1/30/2003
"Great advertising ideas are not just original and interesting, most importantly they are relevant."
- Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting - 1/11/2003
"Look London, Talk Tokyo: The eternal schizophrenia of the advertising creative person"
- Kiran Khalap, Founder, Chlorophyll - 12/28/2002
How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 12/16/2002
"I think a lot of our clients are far more inquisitive about the future of media than us media professionals..."
- Sandip Tarkas, President, South Asia, MPG - 12/2/2002
"But now, it sometimes seems to me that the creative and servicing teams are completely divorced from the media"
- Shovon Chowdhury, Exec VP & GM, Bates India - 11/12/2002
"Broadcasters are today putting the distribution and pay related issues as top priority and factor in new concepts like 'Opportunity To See'"
- Amitabh Srivastava, - Network Development, GM Aaj Tak - 10/21/2002
An ardent bridge player, a producer, a writer and a teacher - one could go on and on about Amit Khanna. Khanna has a wide lineage- he has worked in theatre, radio, television, journalism, advertising and films. He has been on the executive committee of IBF, Indian Music Industry, and Film Federation of India. He set up Plus Channels in '90s and quit in 2000 to launch Reliance Entertainment with Reliance. Khanna the Chairman of the Convergence Committee of FICCI. And also he is the Member of the Core Group of Ministry of I&B, on GATS and Ministry of Commerce. His contributions and association is a long list.
- Amit Khanna, Chairman, Reliance Entertainment - 9/16/2002
Unless media independents enlarge their scope and act as clear partner with the brand both in terms of efficiency in planning and providing actual savings, they will not be heard or seen by practical clients
- V.Balasubramanium, National Director, ATG - 8/19/2002
exchange4media has been calling me for my Viewpoint, but like a true advertising person, I have no time! So I decided to write it in sleep (if you can walk in sleep why can't you write in sleep?) If it hurts your sensibility or you disagree with my views, please disregard this as a piece of junk - because I know it is impossible to pour water in a glass full of water - to give gyan to advertising gyanis.
- Amit Ray, VP-Media Services, Mudra - 7/24/2002
"How does a media professional go about seducing his two primary constituents; the client & the client's customers?"
- Sai Nagesh, GM, Maximize - 7/8/2002
Creating Media Assets
- CVL Srinivas, COO-North&South, Madison Media - 6/24/2002
 
 

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