Reaching out to the Rich Man

Target the class that has the capacity and the inclination to spend.

Madison has pursued this dictum with a recent survey that studies the spending and media consuming habits of the well-heeled and provides media planners with guidelines on zeroing in on this miniscule but powerful class.

Concluding that a rise in disposable income among the rich segment of society has seen the launch of several high end products and services, the agency has tracked the way the increasingly affluent are using their money. While consumption of new generation products is slated to increase at 25 to 40 per cent every year in India, standard indicators like the Monthly Household Income (MHI) are not being adequate to track the actual spending of the well-heeled class, the study notes. The agency studied the habits of the Well Heeled Class (WHC) in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

Most of the well-heeled class belongs to SEC A, according to the study, while Mumbai and Bangalore have higher representation from SEC B. WHC form a minuscule percentage of the so-called elitist SEC A. Except for Cinema, the reach of all other media is significantly higher among WHC. WHC show marked preference for Business and other niche content in various media, the study says. Specialist magazines or specific section in leading newspapers - like Business section, Page three society content will be more effective in reaching out to WHC, it says.

Work pressure means that most of the WHC prefer late night viewing. Also, only 7.2% of the WHC do not watch English programming while nearly 50% of SEC A population does not watch English programming. Nearly 12% of WHC members spend more than 75% of their viewing time on English programming. FM radio scores high too. Radio listenership analysis shows that listening to FM radio while driving to work and back is popular. The preferred programming genres for listening are Film based, News and Cricket commentary.

WHC tend to significantly spend more time on the net especially on weekdays, notes the study. Significantly, 26% of the WHC have reported business as the reason for accessing the net. Most of the products aimed at WHC are highly personalised in nature and advertisers could look at using the net to build strong Customer Relationship Management destinations, it says.

The fact that well-heeled members form a minuscule percent of the population, leads to inadequate and often erroneous audience measurement, particularly in television. Television audience measurement is based on a panel data and representation of the well-heeled class is extremely low, says the study. This miniscule composition means media planners need to temper various media research data where sample size determination and measurement is normally based on the socio economic classification.

A small sample size leads to high relative error especially for small rating size, says the study. This means that there is a tendency to "under report" niche channels like Discovery, HBO that one would intuitively select for the well-heeled class.

These inaccuracies lead media planners to select programmes on a broad based audience, failing to target the niche WHC viewer. To counter this anomaly, Madison Media has evolved a correction factor that help in assessing the true value of various niche television channels, based on the unmeasured WHC and the measured SEC A. The correction factor was arrived at by comparing the values of "Channels normally watched" reported in NRS 2001. Higher index value indicates higher relative popularity of the channel. Madison found that:Recruitment of well heeled families into the audience panel is extremely difficult as most reject the idea of having peoplemeters in their homes, the study notes. Random sampling assumes that everybody within a pre-defined universe has an equal chance of being qualified as a sample. However, most of WHC members reject to be a sample leading to bias at the sampling state itself. The recent highly publicised "rating point scam" provided enough evidence of this bias. The profile of the disclosed SEC A families did not match with the expectations of a typical advertiser. Audience evaluation packages have ownership of durables as one of the audience filter criteria. One would assume that a tighter audience definition is thus possible. However, the sample size turns out to be insufficient, thus defeating the entire exercise.

**Popularity of Hindi Channels like Zee and Sony in non southern cities is lower among the well-heeled class.

**Higher index values for Hindi Channels in southern cities indicate that well-heeled members watch programming in other languages apart from their regional language. In general, English language channels are preferred among the well-heeled class.

**There is a marked preference for news based programming

**HBO performs well in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi than in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Chennai.

This means that for niche brands, media weight plans will be effective and reach at various levels could be examined as a reality check, says the study. It concludes that advertisers will increasingly design and market products aimed at a niche segment of the society.

"Demassification" or anti mass production are thoughts that are gaining currency among the business leaders. Media planners then need to be responsive to the challenge and arrive at a framework that best meets the marketing objective. As audience measurement techniques are not expected to keep the pace with the requirements of demassification, media planners need to arrive at ingenious ways to deliver most effective and efficient solutions, the study says.

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