CAS or no CAS - media planners will be challenged post 15 July

MUMBAI: The uncertainty over the conditional access system (CAS) has compounded the problem; added to the woes of the advertising and media fraternity. The fragmentation of the consumer market will definitely cause headaches and heartaches to planners and buyers.

The Advertising Meltdown - A CASe for Conflict, India's First ever CAS Summit on the TV advertising scenario post CAS organised by will attempt to unravel some of the mysteries. The half day summit will be held on 4 July at the Hyatt Regency Mumbai.


There is a feeling that media planners and buyers have had it easy till now - notwithstanding the extremely complicated and fragmented nature of the market. Distribution hasn't played much of role as yet in media planning. However, CAS has highlighted that distribution has always been a significant, yet ignored, facet of media planning and buying. "The media planning function ought to have moved out of the computer screens to the cable control rooms long back," says a veteran media planner who is critical of planners who stare at computer screens all day.

Post 15 July 2003, there will be several jigsaw puzzles even as Indian television homes will be fragmented beyond recognition - the NCS (India surveyed market); the all homes market; the cable and satellite homes market, the socio-cultural regions (SCRs); the CAS homes in metros (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata) that have invested in set top boxes, the post-CAS FTA homes in metros that don't invest in set top boxes. Confusion will be the name of the game.

Lodestar media director Arpita Menon sums up the situation in her foreword in the latest issue of the agency's inhouse news magazine The Compass: "Never before has the cable and satellite connectivity assumed so much importance than in the era of CAS. Planners have stopped (at least temporarily) agonising over what people watch and have started wondering about whether they can watch at all! Never before have channels and cablewallahs been more at loggerheads than right now. The consumer is the obvious sufferer in the battle and of course, the advertisers too."

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