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New AIR package pitched as attractive for advertisers

MUMBAI: The newly developed All India Radio (AIR) packages might be something ad agencies and advertisers should have a closer look at.

Percept Picture Company division Techniche Media CEO Vivek Salian says: "AIR is offering a package on Vividh Bharati called Vividh Bharati Network (which includes 29 cities) for Rs 5,000 per 10 seconds air time. But a better alternative is a sponsored programme on the Vividh Bharati network. A half-hour slot would cost only Rs 54,000 plus production charge of anything between Rs 15,000 to 20,000. The FCT (free commercial time) of 180 seconds per city can be used for direct plug-ins. One third of the FCT can be banked, i.e. played on other time slots."

Salian's firm Techniche Media (a division of PPCPL) is a radio and audio production house that provides consultancy services to advertisers, ad agencies and PR agencies. "The advantage of a sponsored (recorded) radio show is that the show can be conceptualised as per the brand / target audiences requirement, so that the client derives maximum possible mileage," adds Salian.

Rates were as high as Rs 10,000 for a 10-second spot some time back and AIR's efforts to rationalise the rate structure is an indicator that the public radio broadcaster is becoming market savvy.

Another strong advocate of Vividh Bharati and AIR is outdoor advertising specialist company DS Mittle & Sons director and RAPA's 2003 council president Brij Mittle. Mittle, who has been involved in radio and ad jingles software production says: "Radio hasn't been exploited to the extent to which it should have been. Ad agencies must realise that people will come back to radio in fiscal 2003-4. The FM sector has seen a revival of sorts but Vividh Bharati is still not getting it's due. The mainline media executives simply don't realise the significance of Vividh Bharati as a medium. Or even if they do realise - they are aren't doing enough to promote the stations."

Mittle, who owns one of the oldest recording studios in Mumbai, adds: "Consider some programmes on Vividh Bharati that still have a piece of our mind space - Bhule Bisre Geet or Chitralok on Vividh Bharati still evoke some kind of a nostalgia that today's programmes don't. The government must must take steps to reduce licence fees and public and private radio channels must rationalise their rate structures."

Says Salian: "Programmes such as Binaca Geet Mala anchored by the inimitable Ameen Sayani delivered tremendous value for the brand. The association was very strong and the brand was inextricably linked to the programme and the anchor. We need to replicate this success." Techniche Media has re-positioned itself to explore the opportunity that exists in offering consultancy services to ad agencies, radio channels and advertisers.

Well, Prasar Bharati has already set the ball rolling. In fact, Prasar Bharati has grabbed Rs 906 million for the triangular one day series between India-Australia-New Zealand (10 matches during October) and two test matches ( between India and New Zealand) - with Doordarshan getting Rs 880 million and All India Radio (AIR) getting Rs 26 million.

Prasar Bharati Marketing Division director Vijay Laxmi Chhabra says: "For the first time, we created a package wherein Doordarshan and AIR were marketed jointly. The scientifically devised package ensured that AIR bagged nearly five times what it got for the India-West Indies series last year. Our effort signifies the great results that can be obtained by clubbing the two Prasar Bharati arms together and marketing them jointly."

As Mittle says: "Most of the FM radio channels sound the same - haven't been able to differentiate themselves much from each other. They sound like clones."

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