"Channel surfing will continue despite the cricketing World Cup!" : Ashish Bhasin Initiative Media president

Initiative Media (IM) president Ashish Bhasin has ended the year on a high! Under his able guidance, the Interpublic Group company IM has attained billings of Rs 1 billion and has the maximum number of AORs in the country - a new milestone in a recession year!

IM handles clients such as Bajaj Auto, Brittania, Maruti, ITC, Pantaloon, Wills Sports, HSBC, LG, Eveready, Sara Lee TTK, IDEA Cellular, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Reynolds.

During the early part of his career, Bhasin has worked on the Hindustan Lever business for eight years, in seven countries. He set up Lintas operations in Burma and Vietnam and assisted in drawing up advertising and brand strategies for his associates in other countries like Cambodia, Mongolia and Laos.

In addition to this, he set up called Design Bridge at Lintas with Europe‘s largest packaging design house and headed LintasMadras for two years, almost doubling the business emerging from there through new business gains.

Bhasin moved back to Mumbai to take over as IM president. He wears many hats. Besides handling all the mainline media for the Lintas Group, Bhasin is also driving various ventures of Lintas in areas like rural and the Internet. He set up Linterland, a rural marketing company with a network of over 8,500 people and Digital Initiative, Lintas‘ net buying and planning division. He is also the managing director of Aaren Initiative, Lintas‘ Outdoor venture with .

Bhasin spoke to despite the fact that he ws in the midst of a South India whirlwind tour.


How will TV viewing habits be affected during the World Cup Cricket 2003 (WCC)?

Cricket will definitely make its mark due to the fact that most of the households in India are single TV households. The Indian audiences will watch a good match but prefer India matches, the semi-finals and the finals. Most of the other matches are not top priority.

However, I believe that the non-live cricket programming has lower viewership simply because nothing is equivalent to watching ‘live‘ matches.

The impact of the WCC will be felt during the India matches in the first half of the tournaments; and during the crucial second round matches starting from the first week of March 2003 right up to the finals.

IM Research has shown that when India plays another side on a weekend, cricket dominates; whereas during weekdays, the viewers tend to make time for their other favourite programmes or soaps.

The IM-BBC Adwatch research findings conducted recently give some great insights. The housewife is forced to watch matches during the weekends when she loses control of the remote. The housewife also has a certain level of involvement while she is forced to watch the matches. But her involvement is the highest whenever she chooses to watch the programmes; be it cricket or soaps.

It is worthwhile mentioning that soaps could however be watched throughout the matches by virtue of constant channel surfing. The point is that the TVRs of the commercials on both the cricket channels and general entertainment channels will be affected by fickle-minded audiences.

Life will not change for the average TV viewer post the World Cup!

Have the other general entertainment channels started discounting?

I feel that all the channels had already factored the WCC into their annual programming strategies. In a sense, they are more prepared to take on the challenge by either creating programming around cricket or by focusing on their strengths in order to offer a viable option to cricket.

It is worth noting that the viewers are bound to experience a certain fatigue factor due to almost eight hours of non-stop cricket. The general tendency will be to either switch off the TV sets after the match or to watch non-cricket programmes. However, the niche channels will definitely face some problems due to a shifting of loyalties.

Coming back to your question, there hasn‘t been any radical slashing of rates because the top buying agencies have already worked out cost-effective deals depending on the client and brand requirements. At the most, the channels have offered value additions or bonuses.

Which categories will jump on to the WCC bandwagon?

Nobody wants to stay away from cricket as long as it fits into their gameplan or into their budgets. Most of the categories and major advertising spenders have already expressed a keen interest.

Brands can benefit from the WCC but need an efficient and innovative media strategy to break through the clutter, which should include better scheduling and positioning of the ads.

Ownership of specific properties on channels will also help brands to ensure visibility.

"Nothing equals watching ‘live‘ cricket and non-live cricket programming will always get lower viewership!"

What are the other opportunities that brands and companies can utilise during the World Cup 2003?

In October 2002, IM signed a licensing and merchandising deal with the ICC for the cricket World Cup 2003. IM‘s division, Advent, has the rights for the Indian sub-continent and is one amongst the global network of international commercial partners, bringing a truly global marketing reach and presence to the event.

We have already sold 95 per cent of the properties to clients such as Pantaloon (retail), Britannia (biscuits), Archies (novelties) and Nirvana (music).

Such a proposition offers a good option for brands and companies to develop marketing initiatives in sync with their core competencies. For instance; Pantaloon Retail, the readymades major, has brought the exclusive merchandising rights in India for apparels and accessories using the logo and mascot of the world cup cricket tournament.

There is a perfect synergy as the apparels and accessories company can conduct major allied activities to coincide with the World Cup.

Would you recommend DD and MAX to your clients?

Well, both the channels have their individual strengths. It totally depends on the long term and short term objectives of the different brands and the companies.

Needless to say, brands that are keen on mass markets will have to select DD; the premium brands that wish to focus on core target audiences without wastage will take MAX. But, the point is that all advertisers have to break through the clutter and noise levels.

Latest Reads
Ogilvy India makes key top-level appointments

MUMBAI: Advertising agency Ogilvy India has announced the appointment of Prem Narayan as its new chief strategy officer and Balagopalan Ganapathy as the new head of planning, Ogilvy Mumbai. Narayan and Ganapathy have started in their respective roles with immediate effect.

MAM Media and Advertising People
SVG Columbus debuts with big wins at IAMAI's 8th India Digital Awards

SVG Columbus has been honoured with 2 Golds and 1 Silver by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on its debut. For the record, SVG Media was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network in April 2017. Post the acquisition, SVG Media launched Columbus – an agency focused on Data Driven...

MAM Marketing MAM
81% Indians find ads intrusive: KMB study

MUMBAI: A well-executed multichannel campaign is a thing of beauty. But over one in four of the campaigns we see are not well integrated, and consumers are much more critical than marketers about campaign connectivity. Also, less than half of all campaigns take full advantage of different channels...

MAM Marketing MAM
Vivo YouTube campaign saw better response using Vogon

MUMBAI: Chinese smartphone brand Vivo rolled out a digital campaign - ViewTube, giving a new wave to YouTube’s ongoing TrueView Ads. With the launch of its V7 model, Vivo leveraged Google’s Director Mix tool to launch a campaign that offers a unique creative solution to gauge higher viewer...

MAM Marketing MAM
Big Bazaar launches game to promote R-day sale

MUMBAI: Hypermarket chain from Future Group, Big Bazaar, has created a mobile game to promote its mega property, ‘Big Bazaar Sabse Saste 5 Din’. Designed and executed by L & K Saatchi & Saatchi, Big Bazaar’s innovative deal game is set to transform the shopping experience in India....

MAM Marketing Brands
Inito gives anxious couples hope through its new ad

The desire to have children is something that is harboured by millions of couples. But, in the eagerness to do so, many times this whimsical process ends up becoming strenuous and stressful for many. In order to help beat the woes for many such couples, Inito, a medical technology company, has...

MAM Marketing Brands
Vernacular content consumers to be 2.5 times English by 2021: Deloitte

MUMBAI: Deloitte India has launched the eighth edition of its report on technology, media and telecommunications which predicts major advances in machine learning, voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology services and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, apart from other trends.

MAM Marketing MAM
IAA's new initiative seeks to end rigidity in office timings

A new social initiative titled #WorkToLiveToWork has been undertaken by the International Advertising Association’s (IAA) India chapter with Nandini Dias, managing committee member of IAA and CEO of Lodestar India, at the helm. Dias lost two colleagues in separate accidents related to railways...

MAM Media and Advertising People
PVR promotes cleaner air

MUMBAI: Cinema exhibition company PVR Pictures has launched a new campaign called, #BeTheCommuter with an aim to promote clean air and curb pollution.

MAM Marketing Brands

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories