Star's new ad rate systems aims at transparency

MUMBAI: It is a step that could alter the way media buying takes place. Buoyed by the latest NRS 2005 survey putting the cable and satellite homes at a whopping 61 million, Star India is pressing hard for a more transparent advertising rate card structure to its clients.

The new system titled 'Star Advantage' has drawn up rates for the entire network to minimise discounting and pave the way for a structured sales scenario.



Says Star India COO Sameer Nair, " The card rates were anyway so absurd. We are going to redefine the way ad sales is done. The aim really is to ensure consistency in spends across the network and drive the next phase of growth for Star."

How? Nair says the new improved structure will ensure more client focus as well as more reach for the advertisers. The endeavour being uniform consumption across the channel leading to an increase in their yield.

The ad sales division is also undergoing change, aimed at sharper focus at spreading spends across the network. It will now comprise account and channel teams. While the former will cater to specific clients and present Star as a "One stop Shop" which offers eyeballs across all TGs and SECs, the latter will be focussed on servicing brands and clients across channels.

Last month, the network announced specific ‘client service teams’ to build and promote their brands across its entire portfolio of channels. The new set-up follows the network sales route, enabling Star's top 55 clients to deal with one single client servicing team making it simpler and effective for clients. While two dedicated teams were formed to handle the Hindi and the English channels as a cluster for the remaining clients. Star has a total of 400 clients.

Star Advantage will offer rates for all the channels across the Star Bouquet which will be available for clients on , which will be accessible from 8 July.

But does this mean Star is taking the radical step of doing away with discounts? Volume buys and established spend patterns will still attract discounts. But the leading network in the country is saying 'no' to its other clients. The 'Star Advantage' rates will be used as the final effective rates.

When queried as to whether media buyers could still negotiate on the new rates, Nair retorts," They can try."

Star will not be the only network to take a hard stance on its ad rate structure. TV Today and Eenadu, according to the industry, have been rigid on their rates.

To put things in perspective, if one looks at Star's rate card stated below, it throws light on how redundant and unrealistic the rate card has been. Star Advantage is an attempt to bring the rates closer to industry estimates.

Snapshot of the old Rate card Vs Star Advantage -


Old card rate per 30 secs (INR)

Star advantage 30 secs (INR)

Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi    



Kahaani ghar ghar kii    



Kasautii zindagii kay    



Kahiin To Hoga    



So, have the Star's effective rates ( much below Star's old rate card) been upped? Explains Nair, "If you look at a simple spot rate from last year to this year, then the rates have gone up. But, one cannot say if it has or not as rates have varied for different clients on the basis of spends and volume buys."



A media professional from a leading agency says, "Star has tried to rationalise its cost and make it more authentic. If Aaj Tak can do it, then why not Star. This will bring in more clients with varying spends across its network. Although undoubtedly, it will be a tough task, as negotiations will still take place."

Lodestar Media's national media director Nandini Dias says, "Media buying is all about demand,supply and pricing. If the pricing is really transparent and matches the current market rates then why not."

Group M's Manas Mishra views this as a good step. " This is a sign that the industry is maturing. Media buyers will, however, continue to negotiate because economies of scale will never go out of fashion."



Validating Star's move, TV Today vice president ad sales Rajnish Rikhy says, "The problem with the television industry is the fact that there has not been a listed card, hence the market is very confused. Television needs to start working on MRP's too. We as the news genre leaders have been strictly following our rate cards and are happy to have the leaders of the entertainment genre adopt this practice too. This will bring in uniformity, credibility as well as centralisation of the whole process. Star may face some short term issues but it will definitely help the network as well as the industry in the long term."

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