What are advertisers doing while HT-TOI are fighting?

As two leading dailies fight over readership numbers, we find out what marketers think of the ongoing war and how they decide where to advertise

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: May 14, 2015 7:57 AM
What are advertisers doing while HT-TOI are fighting?

HT and TOI are at it again with claims of higher readership numbers. On the back of the latest IRS results, both leading dailies have tried to make it abundantly clear to readers, advertisers and marketers who’s the boss. But does this blame game have any effect on marketers? We find out…

R S Sodhi, MD, Amul said, “TOI and HT are two big brands and they have a right to fight over their leadership. We choose on the basis of merit and our own research and we are not concerned about the number game.”

Sashi Shankar, CMO, Idea Cellular said, “It doesn't affect us much. We go with our media agency and their point of view. We advertise depending on the basis of our target.”

Earlier this year Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook (PMMAO) 2015 had predicted that Print will continue to attract the largest chunk of the advertisers’ money with an estimated share of 40% of the overall advertising pie. The Print advertising market is projected to grow by 5.3% in 2015 taking the total Print market close to Rs 16,100 crore. While Print continues to be the largest contributor in spends, its share in the overall ad pie has steadily fallen from 47% in 2008 to 41% in 2014, and this is expected to fall to 39.6% in 2015. And HT and TOI are the biggest players in this domain.

On the condition of anonymity a Marketing Head of a leading apparel& shoes brand said, “This battle between HT vs TOI is interesting from an advertiser’s point of view. Sooner or later the advertisers will get to see the reality. What matters for an advertiser is profiling. A brand needs to move beyond the number games and dig deeper in to profiling. This print war will reveal the difference between the readers and how a TOI reader is different from HT and vice versa and it'll help the brand.”

Deba Ghoshal, Head Marketing and Key Accounts, Voltas said, “We have advertised without one of them in the past and we have done well. So when we went with one of the leading options the numbers didn't suffer. In fact we were pretty well in terms of reach. It’s a question of how you optimize your spends. You want to do it equally across the two you want to take one and create a big impact. Because duplication is very high in terms of readership one can live with one or one of the options if one is heavier in terms of frequency because this is a judgment call which everybody has to take. It is nothing to do with figures or data because both have powerful data, so it’s a call to optimizing your budgets. You can very well live with one of them in Delhi market.”

When asked is it difficult to choose one paper to advertise given the background of this print war, he replied, “We don't find any difficulty taking the decision. What we do is we spread it in such a way we ensure that we get equal frequency in both the medium, however in case for purely for impact say in off season if we have to do a campaign in Delhi NCR we may go for one of them bit we don't have a difficulty in choosing between both of them.”

Rajiv Mishra, Vice President - Media, CSR and Spokesperson, Samsung, said, “ Good media buying strategy for any corporate is always a focused messaging on the right audience, with right medium and right number of times, at the lowest possible cost—that’s what one should do and if two big media giants are fighting it’s become easier to negotiate harder.”

Amit Sharma, Corporate Vice President, Marketing, Max Life Insurance said, “The two brands have been TOI and HT at loggerheads since the beginning of time! And there have been claims of domination especially in the NCR. This time it’s a series of recent ads. Our belief is that it’s not so much a matter of vanilla numbers. Our media agency and we believe that media opportunity merits a more comprehensive evaluation including deal efficiencies and not just self-proclaimed numbers. For response and brand metric sensitive categories, a simple deprivation experiment can elucidate the impact and role of respective media. Max Life by itself would not be impacted by these relatively transient battles as we are more a TV-heavy brand. Moreover as and when we would deploy, our own print media evaluation would not be this superficial and would take into account the real numbers behind the picture.”

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