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Value airtime to maximise resources: James Wilkinson

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MUMBAI: Broadcasters need to value airtime in order to maximise their resources, James and Wilkinson Media co-founders Alan James and Jo Wilkinson said at PromaxBDA 2012.

“This asset helps in not one but four ways. It serves as your biggest marketing tool, can be used for branding, reduces off-air spends and is under your control. This is especially true in India where you can charge up to Rs two million per TRP,” explained James.

The market today is much more fragmented than two decades back and, thus, to reach out to a specific set in the audience, one needs to have a targeted marketing strategy and air time is a valuable ally in doing so.

Next on the list is setting clear objectives, outlining single-minded strategies and having effective campaign tactics. When the first two are well defined, the latter will follow. With a plethora of channels out there, these three tenets will make sure that your channel is differentiated from the lot.

Also, while deciding one’s promotional campaign, the channel needs to be clear about the demographic profiles of its audiences and the expected ROI on the campaign.

Annual planning and setting priorities by allocating funds accordingly is another aspect a broadcaster needs to pay heed to. It is important to analyse, differentiate and decide whether the priority is strengthening brand equity or delivering volumes and revenue. The ideal model is one that does both.

Things like the TRPs your channels garner, the break routines and the reach of your channels need to be kept in mind while planning promotional activities. Apart from this, other resources like the web, radio and mobile also need to be considered. Having taken all this into account, a network then needs to decide how many promotional campaigns it can sustain effectively in a week, month and a year respectively.

Aspirational targeting can lead to programme credibility, brand repositioning and future proofing the network to an extent which also helps in extending the reach of the content. The next step is to then decide the frequency to maximise the effectiveness of the creative.

“This effective frequency maybe defined as the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising or promotional message to get a response and before exposure is considered wasteful,” says James.

Considering that audiences today use more than one screen, the idea of cross promotion is beneficial for a channel. Here too, it is necessary what to cross promote to whom. Making use of the sister channels, radio and web are tools for cross promotions that come handy in this case. Audience relevance, editorial relevance and timeliness make for good cross promotion guidelines.

A very important tool for any network is its break regime. An ideal break allows for three things – give the viewer a chance to navigate, deliver information or choice and make the broadcast network recognised. Navigation is the part that needs special attention.

There are different kinds of viewers: the programming led viewers who rarely surf, the surfers who surf moderately and the super surfers who keep jumping from one channel to another. While the first category needs to be informed, the second needs to be enticed and the third needs to be navigated.

Using on-air announcers is a concept novel to India, but has been a success elsewhere like in the UK. This tool helps contemporarise content, make the transitions and breaks seamless, and add a personal touch to the programming content to evaluate every step.

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