Star to put HLL ads back on air

MUMBAI: A day after the other big broadcasters like Zee and Sony did it, Star India too, followed suit. Star India said that though no signed deal was in place yet with Hindustan Lever, all clients had agreed to pay the contentious 5 per cent service tax on ad billings.

Star India ad sales head Raj Nayak said: "All clients have agreed to pay and will be on air as soon as we can put them on." Referring to HLL, Nayak said: "Star does not have a signed deal with HLL and will negotiate with them to pay service tax when a new deal is done. We stand firm that we will follow the IBF-ISA-3AAAs-of-I agreement to air only spots of clients who pay service tax."

A Star India spokesperson had been quoted yesterday as saying that all the advertisers had agreed to the pay the 5 per cent service tax, except for HLL, Colgate and Pepsi, with whom negotiations were still going on. Well, these negotiations appear to have resulted in Star getting Colgate and Pepsi to bend but not so HLL, which has been consistent in its stand that it follows the Indian Society of Advertisers' line that advertisers are willing to accept billing requirements which show service tax separately so long as the total cost payable remains within the agreed rate. For HLL, "the agreed rate" has meant that the service tax be kept out of the ambit of its negotiations.

Not surprising really considering that at Rs 1.5 billion, HLL's annual TV ad spend is streets ahead of any other advertiser. By blacking out HLL, Star TV was losing Rs 2 million every day, reports said.

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