Zee introduces 'transparent' rate card; media buyers unsure

MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: The great thing about Zee is that it cannot be far behind from what others have done and this time round it is taking care to get things right, though they may look a bit complicated at first go.



Close on the heels of other channels and networks unveiling their rate cards, the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms too, has introduced a comprehensive price manual in an effort to provide greater value to advertisers.

The Zee price manual incorporates a comprehensive set of variables which can be configured by media buyers and clients to optimize return on spends. Zee has developed categories such as Tiara, Zee Kohinoor, Kohinoor, Platinum, Gold and Silver in addition to types such as Singles, Doubles, Bonanza, Bumper, Value and Steal. For Zee Cinema, there are special property packages such as Grandeur, Glamour, Gloss, Glitz.

The highest rate in the topmost slab Tiara is the rate of Rs 125,000 per 10 seconds in the Singles categories whereas the lowest rate in bottom slab Silver is Rs 5000 per 10 seconds under the Steal category.

Optimum Media Solutions executive vice president Amit Ray says that Zee has effectively reduced its peak rates from Rs 250,000 to Rs 125,000 (Tiara Singles category) and from Rs 60,000 to Rs 12,500 (Silver Singles category). "Zee's logic is to ensure that existing advertisers stick with the channel. However, the existing clients will benefit from this rate card in terms of the packages and bonusing and they might not necessarily up their spends. The new clients might come in but Zee might not necessarily benefit and might not get the volumes it expects to get," adds Ray.

The price manual, which has independent matrices for each channel, will be a rate offering by secondage, rate slabs, sponsorships, programmes, bonus grids, special spend benefits, early bird offers, exclusive Zee TV deal

incentives, position premiums and special packages.

Zee Telefilms will, henceforth, be marketing all FCT (free commercial time) under the Zee Integrated Price Packages and all transactions will use the variables presented.

"As a media house, we have been at the forefront of many media changes and this is yet another. The era of showing clients deliveries through notional discounts and projected percentage savings has gone. The New Age intelligent buyer-planner wants to move beyond the sabzi mandi approach of fighting for effective rates, to delivering genuine value and through this flexible and

rationalised rate card, we are there to help him concentrate on the right value adds / deliverables," a company spokesperson said.

Meant to be a handy kit for media buyers and media planners on Zee, the manual addresses the key issue of a complete free-for-all on rates that prevails in electronic media buying. The consequence of anarchic rates has

been, for the media industry, financial indiscipline and the perception of clients of better deals being on offer by the channel to other buyers.

By tabling all the variables in a manual, which can be accessed by any media buyer or planner or client, the price manual seeks to bring in transparency and rationalised rates. The price manual will bring into focus

scientifically designed impact as against the current melee to arrive at Effective Rates. The flexibility of options enables the media buyer to work out what he wants while suiting his specific requirements.

Zee Telefilms believes that this will take planners out of the "protracted negotiation loop. However, Optimum Media Solutions' Ray says: "There is very little logic in reducing the peak rates. In TV purchases, the lowest printed price card becomes the starting point for negotiations. After all, it is a low demand, high supply situation."

The Zee price packages will enable planners to work out meaningful packages for clients since it presents the tools to pick and choose what makes sense for the client. The manual has inbuilt flexibility which enables the media buyer to scope out the entire offering options and through appropriate combinations arrive at deals which are both better than those of competition as well as all the options are laid out upfront.

Several media planners and buyers, however, said they would have to study the rate card carefully before commenting. One was quite dismissive though, while posing the question: "Do rate cards really matter?"

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