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‘Broadcasting in crisis; urgent need to broad base advertisers’

15-April-2002
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‘Broadcasting in crisis; urgent need to broad base advertisers’

Amit Agnihotri

Drop in the impact of advertising on television, lower-than-expected growth in television advertising and spiraling cost of programming means that future of broadcasting is not so bright. And the hope lies in converting new clients and categories into the believers of the medium and adopting strong marketing practices. This seems to be the message coming from senior media professionals, Kunal Dasgupta, Sam Balsara and LV Krishnan, addressing the recently concluded two-day seminar ‘On Television.’

“Television industry is in a crisis. Economic slowdown has shrunk television advertising. And indicators are that large advertisers are unlikely to increase budgets in next two years, while wanting to drive similar values. We need to evolve rapidly,” said Kunal Das Gupta, CEO Sony Entertainment Television. Slowdown apart, senior professionals believed that there was a drop in efficiency of the television medium per se. Rising Clutter, according to Dasgupta, was a key culprit. “Too much advertising in becoming less impactful. The ad breaks have become longer forcing audiences to desert channels in ad breaks,” said Dasgupta. In agreement, Sam Balsara, Chairman of Madison Advertising opined, “The excellent results of using television medium have now become a thing of past.”

Balasra, in his presentation titled ‘What ails Television advertising’ offered his perspective on problems and a few solutions. “Agencies weak infrastructure, their unwillingness to innovate and client’s reluctance to build new properties and fund new ideas are further reducing advertising performance,” said Balsara.

‘On Television’ seminar was organized, on 12th and 13th April, in Mumbai by Indian Television Academy to ‘build bridges’ amongst the various element of television industry- Broadcaster, Advertising Agencies and Producers.

How does a broadcaster, then, meet these challenges? Well, through a combination of measures. By working towards broad basing advertising, developing new revenue streams and focusing on marketing.

“In this country full of entrepreneurs, we need to tap local advertisers,” said Balsara highlighting AajTak’s attempt to put a then unknown advertiser PP Jeweler on national map. Sony’s Dasgupta went a step further. Highlighting the emergence of new advertising categories, he said, “Insurance, private banking and even telecom have done little advertising. Food processing too needs to be targeted aggressively. A branded apple (“merawalla apple”) and orange should come about soon!” he chuckled

LV Krishnan, CEO TAM, pressed that insightful usage of audience research data couple with cleaver marketing can help broadcasters shore up. Presenting his ’12 Commandments’ he said, “Channels should focus on asking questions like ‘where am I going wrong’ rather than raise doubts about credibility of data. TAM data offers valuable insights.” His key recommendations were to ‘Get distribution right’ as trial leads to usage and loyalty, ‘reduce clutter’ and ‘schedule insightfully.’

Rapping the agencies for following the beaten path, Balsara exhorted the agencies to “Benefit by predicting and purchasing future performance rather than buying proven past performance.” Anyone listening.

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