The mood was all set for the GoaFest and the destination was already
filled with media and advertising professionals but the Advertising
Agencies Association of India (AAAI) used the opportunity to bring
some issues of the advertising industry under the scanner. AAAI's
organised an Advertising Conclave which brought together members
of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), Indian Broadcast Federation
(IBF) and the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) in a joint discussion
to discuss and debate on 'What ails the industry?'.
The audience comprising senior executives from all areas of the
industry were very participative. The discussions were moderated by
Ambika Srivastava of Zenith Media Optimedia. Aroon Purie of India
Today Group and Subhash Chandra of Zee Group inspired the industry
leaders by sharing their perspectives on what they thought ailed the
industry and gave their dose of solutions. It was an assessment of
where the industry was headed and how growth and ideas could be
accelerated and sustained.
Interestingly known names from the industry were given a chance to speak on what bugged them about the advertising and media industry and its ways. Purie felt that as an industry we are not investing aggressively in content. He said, "We are short selling the medium to advertisers and media planners." He said, "Bhelpuri on Chowpatty in Mumbai sells for Rs 15, while a newspaper sells for Rs 2, or even a full-colour business magazine sells for only Rs 10." He went on to compare these figures with international publications such as 'New York Times', which is sold for Rs 45. Similarly, a business newspaper such as 'The Wall Street Journal' sells for Rs 90 abroad.
for Rs 90 abroad. Purie reflected that it was due to these market dynamics that there was pressure on advertising in a different way, wherein ad rates are hiked resulting in continual complains from advertisers. He was also of the opinion that consumers are being spoilt and even if the prices of newspapers, magazines or other media increase, these consumers won't do without them and will, in time, accept higher prices.
Bhaskar Das, Executive President, The Times of India, had another view on this point. He informed that any increase in the cover price of newspapers led to a corresponding decline in the circulation figures. But Purie was ready with an example from experience and he commented that 'India Today' did not lose out on circulation when it had induced an increase in the cover price, "and that too by 30 per cent," exclaimed Purie, "and the same was the case with many regional dailies which sell at a higher price as compared to many English dailies."
Delving further into the advertising aspect of the media, Purie categorised that Indian advertising to be intrusive. He pointed that mastheads are sold, right hand pages are preferred for ads in magazines, whereas some ads are even made to look like a part of the editorial. He said "These may reap short term gains, eventually readers get put off by these. Editorials should be kept clear and advertising should be used where it is supposed to be." To substantiate his point, he cited the example of HBO, which when started in the US, did not have any commercial breaks keepings viewers needs in mind. Purie also observed that there has been a bias towards the English language in both print and television, when it came to advertising, even though the advertisers' actual target audience may be tuned in to a Hindi medium.
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