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.
"Budget blues and the rest of the year"
Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute
As the budget looms large, and as we finish the first half of the year, here are a few stray thoughts and observations (all my own work).
Like, taxes will go up on cigarettes, but so will consumption. Even without above-the-line advertising, cigarette companies will succeed in growing the market with a whole host of merchandise and promotions.
Like, cars will become more expensive, and pachees 99 will become satayis 99. And petrol and diesel will become dearer, and branded fuels will struggle.
Like, after the budget, the service tax issue plaguing broadcasters and advertisers alike will be put to rest, with a black and white statement on the subject. However, each side will continue to see the new law in convenient shades of grey.
Like, the cost of a 200-ml carbonated drink will officially go up to Rs. 6, and we will see a whole host of commercials preventing the chauthi-fail budbaks from charging Rs. 7. To help creative directors in their struggle, here are a few suggestions for creating analogies for the number six: highest possible score in one ball in cricket; the Hindi endearment for eunuch; the highest score using dice. If they want more suggestions, I’d have to charge for them.
Like, taxes on alcohol will shoot up sharply, but prices of white spirits will not; there are too many brands chasing too few drinkers, and by the time you add the recommended cola to the base, they all taste the same. However, the quality of hangover is a key differentiator.
Like, all major agencies will start working on scam ads for Pencils, one-shows, Abbys and what have you. And the favourite issues that will be covered include AIDS, cancer, smoking and drunken driving. If you ever want to see these ads, ask your clipping agency to monitor newspapers in the north-east. That’s the only place these ads are carried.
Like, there will be three No.1 business magazines; one when measured by ABC, one when measured by IRS and NRS, and one when measured by the Decision Makers Survey. Next year, they will all be No.1 again.
Like, there will be twenty-seven No.1 TV channels, all measured by the same source: TAM. The leadership will be due to tweaking of demographics. A suggestion for those channels who are currently No.2: check if you are No.1 in the 15-34 M-F Tamil-speaking viewers in south Kolkata.
Like, a brave channel will rationalize and create a realistic rate card, and do away with the ER. However, media buyers will negotiate further, as their software will not accept an ER that is equal to the card rate, as it will reflect poorly on their negotiating skills in the overall media plan.
Like, the Hindustan Times will launch their Mumbai edition later this year, and PR agencies will heave a sigh of relief, what with dealing with the Medianet concept and demanding clients.
Like, this will be a great year for CNBC as the uncertainties caused by the composition of the new government will continue to confound the stock market, ensuring long hours of their vaunted Out-of-Home viewing.
Like, the news channels will run out of ideas for breaking news, and plumb to lower depths. Possibilities include: Maruti is No. 1 car again; O&M sweeps the Abbys; Power cut in Kolkata; US soldiers killed in Iran.
Like, 71 media professionals will quit Mindshare, and 73 will join. While on Group M, they will launch 12 more subsidiary companies that share the same initial.
Like, the media magazine space will continue to be overrun, and three new magazines will be launched. Media e-zines will now send you updates every four minutes.
Like, mobile service providers will all increase their SMS rates as Diwali, Christmas and New Year approach. Subscribers who miss the price revision announcements will shift from ‘post-paid’ to ‘pre-paid’ in January 2005.
Like, the major use of MMS will be for forwarding pornography, but you can pretend that you’re working on Microsoft Power Point TM.
Like, if you have any brains you’ll figure out a way to make money from the next elections. Hire Business Development executives from Grey if you want a head start.
Like, the sample size for exit polls for the next general election will be at least 11,65,212 per state. Despite this, the poll will be prone to an error of a few percentage points. Fundamentally, it means wait till the CEC declares the results, and watch the commercials please.
Like, Rajdeep Sardesai will get more aggressive in the Big Fight, and Barkha Dutt and Shah Rukh Khan will visit the tribals in Kalahandi and the impoverished in Telengana. There will be no shots of happy families, as they do not exist in these areas.
Like, CAS will be a reality because Kalanidhi Maran wants CAS and because his brother is a minister, but it could be a coincidence.
Like, I doubt you’ll see my name again in ‘Viewpoint’, as this column will not do my popularity any good.