Television

News broadcasters look at innovative ad sales

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Mumbai: The approximately Rs. 600-700 million news market in India may get radically stirred if a proposal being considered by the newly-formed News Broadcasters Association of India sees the light of day.

According to the still-under-discussion proposal, Hindi language news broadcasters with sizable market shares are looking at the pros cons of offering a uniform advertising rate to clients.

The proposal, reportedly mooted by a few news market leaders in India who are part of News Broadcasters Association of India, may initially exclude the English news channels from this proposed uniform approach to ad sales, which might be a stumbling block in it going through.

Scepticism notwithstanding, one news channel head admitted that the proposal is being considered.

“It’s (having common ad rates across Hindi news channels) certainly on the agenda, but there are too many ifs and buts to be sorted out before any possibility of actual implementation,” the chief executive who did not want to be named said.

The executive explained that the idea is to find common ground on various news broadcast-related issues, including infrastructure, distribution and, probably, ad sales too.

Still, the revenue sharing formula being suggested too is debatable. As per an initial suggestion, after offering common ad rates, the revenue would be split amongst news channels as per respective market share in terms of viewership and ratings.

For example, if Rs. 100 is generated through this common plank, then the bulk of it would go to the news channel boasting the largest market share and then split up as per market share percentage.

However, another news channel head questioned the model suggested, saying the proposal may be “lofty, but the revenue share formula would throw up various questions.”

Still, most news channels admit there’s no denying that having common approach to issues, including editorial, distribution and infrastructure, is worth exploring in the Indian market as certain expenses are spiraling.

For instance, distribution and placement charges of news channels have increased manifold over the last two years with limited bandwidth of cable networks and mushrooming news channels.

Presently, the major Indian news channels in Hindi and English include Aaj Tak, Star News, Zee News, NDTV India, NDTV 24x7, Sahara’s eight-odd channels, India TV, CNBC TV18, Awaaz, CNN IBN and IBN7.

The News Broadcasters Association of India is also in the process of finalizing content code for its member companies and exploring having an ombudsman on the lines of Editors’ Guild of India, which primarily oversees the print medium.

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