MAM

"We have to look beyond satellite TV spends and see how we can expand": SET executive VP, sales & revenue management, Rohit Gupta

When Rohit Gupta joined Sony Entertainment Television as executive vice-president, sales & revenue management on April 15 this year, the question in the industry was what could Gupta, an economics graduate who had spent his entire corporate career prior to this at Xerox Modicorp, possibly bring to the table in selling media.



When the same question was put to SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta at the time, he said Gupta would be able to offer a fresh perspective as he was coming on board without any preconceived notions.



Just under three months after joining the group, and at a time when SET is girding to take on all comers with its World Cup properties, Gupta outlines his plans and just what it is he has to offer at SET in a t?te-?-t?te with indiantelevision.com's Thomas Abraham.






When you joined Sony, that most commonly voiced reservation was that you had no media selling exposure. What was it that made you make the switch after what had been essentially a one-company career?



Well I was looking for a change and some new challenges. And the two industries I thought I could contribute to were IT (information technology) and media and entertainment.



I had been in talks with Kunal (Dasgupta) since October. Also my discussions with Jon Petrovich (executive V-P, international channels for Columbia TriStar International Television) convinced me that Sony India had the full backing from Sony International in its efforts to reach the top in India. Sony was No 2 but clearly aiming for the top slot. Then there were the World Cup cricket properties. It all made for an exciting challenge.



What clear advantages has your experience at Xerox brought to the table and what has been your biggest challenge in getting a grip on the media selling business?



What I would like to bring in here is the importance of client relationships. This was the key focus for us at Xerox. The biggest challenge for me is in understanding the complexities of programming inventory. The task before me is how to maximize earning potential on the inventory levels.

 

You lay great stress on client relationships. Could you expand on that?



It is all about how you manage client relationships. How you achieve targets you have set for yourself with the client is very much part of the process.



The key message is that it is more of a solution selling approach rather than a deal based approach. We have to look at the year down the line and tailor our assessments and strategies towards that end. Looking at it from the client's side, until you fit into his overall marketing plan in a long-term perspective, you are not heading anywhere.

And as much as we have to be a part of the client's overall marketing plan, they must be in the know as to our plans as well. We have to give them real value. For our eight to 10 biggest clients we make them aware what the year's calendar is looking like as far as big ticket programming is concerned.



So what is it on the programming front that you believe will excite your clients?



In May we started the Subhash Ghai film festival. In August, (probably 15 August) there is Lagaan premiering on SET.



Apart from the movies we have three big ticket shows lined up. Firstly there is Russian Roulette, which is a licensed product from Sony Pictures International. The show has been a huge success wherever it was broadcast.



We will also soon be launching a musical format game show. Then there is the Balaji weekend series that is set to launch. It will run for thirteen weeks over 39 episodes. The Balaji show will provide the lead in to our weekend movies so we expect to block up the weekend prime time band (8 pm to midnight).



In fact we want to brand our slots - the 9 to 10 band on week days, movies, weekend programming.



(This interview was done before the news broke that THE big ticket show from Sony - Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai - with Madhuri Dixit as the anchor was finally launching.)



Are there any other areas that you feel require changes being made?



I am a firm votary of systems in place. You have to strengthen your accounting management process. Your outlook should come out of a process rather than individuals.

"In this quarter we have held on to our numbers on all the channels. At the end of Q2 we will again review. "



What kind of a vehicle does SET with its channels Sony, MAX, and AXN offer to potential advertiser partners?



I have already talked about SET as far as programming is concerned.



On Max it will obviously be cricket. When there will be no cricket, we will be doing blockbuster films.



Our plan is that 60 days before the Champions Trophy (Sri Lanka in September) and 100 days before the World Cup (South Africa, March 2003) we will build up the hype. There are three types of viewers we are targeting. The purists who will follow cricket wherever it is telecast. Then there is the entertainment seeker. He or she likes the game but also wants to be seriously entertained. It is not so much the contest itself that draws him in. And lastly there is the uninitiated, who couldn't really care less for the game. If we can draw this section into our ambit, we will have hit Bull's Eye.



The difference we want to create is that with the name Sony, which is clearly an entertainment channel, we want to create programming to spread our audience to the maximum. We have tied up with top production houses for programming one and half hours before and an hour after each match that will be telecast during the tournament.



AXN has been showing phenomenal growth month on month. The fact that we have a specific India feed is proof enough of the value we attach to AXN. Among the new initiatives on AXN is for Who Dares Wins. We are planning a five-city promotional tour for the show.



Is it not true that the advertising pie hasn't really been growing? And in an environment where there are more and more claimants scrapping over the same ad spend, how do you propose to significantly increase revenues?



While the kitty might be the same, there are always ways to grow the business. We have also to look at alternate revenues. We have to look beyond C & S (cable & satellite) spend and look at the total of A&M (advertising & marketing) spend and see how we can expand.



And regarding a stagnant ad pie, speaking for Sony, we've had a fantastic quarter with 30 per cent growth in revenues compared to the average of the last three quarters.



Does SET have all advertisers on its channels? Is it well balanced?



The majority of big spenders are already on our channel and some who have gone away have come back. This is one of the reasons for the growth I had mentioned.



Which new type of advertiser would you like to bring in and why?



We will target all the new sectors that are opening up; insurance, petroleum, telecom, Services.



Do you think the media independents and agencies are really bringing value to the table for advertisers or are they just bringing in lower costs without the accompanying quality? Do you believe the advertiser respects the media vehicle these days or does he stomp all over him to get his point of view

across?




I can't make generalisations on this. It has to be client specific and client driven clearly. There is a limit to desperation sales. The whole idea can never be to sell at any cost. Who is the client, what does he do with you, the past, the future relationship. All these are factors that will determine what we do and how we go about it.



Well business is tough and targets have to be met. That discounting is rampant is a given. And if you have unsold inventory, the pressure to sell would be there would it not?



At the end of the day, if it doesn't make business sense we will not fall into the trap of selling unused inventory at any value. There is a cut off below which we will not negotiate.



On the revenues front how are you currently placed?



In this quarter we have held on to our numbers on all the channels. At the end of Q2 we will again review.



Have you drawn up any special strategies as far as selling the World Cup is concerned?



The centerpiece of our drive forward as a network is without doubt the ICC World Cup. There is a separate sales team selling our cricket with separate targets and a separate focus. For this we hired a consultant from the US, Creg McCastle. In the US, sports is huge and he has worked on some of the biggest events there. He helped design the sales packages, value branding, promotional activities. Essentially, the effort is to make the event bigger than ever before.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/28/Untitled-1_25.jpg?itok=0yHov_cz
ShopClues rolls out 'Itne Kum Mein' TVC

ShopClues has rolled out its new TV ad campaign to usher in the joyous festive season with the right mood. The TVC brings to the fore the delightful offerings up for grabs this year o nShopClues with its tagline “Itne Kum Mein” (at such a low price). A series of fresh catalogue digital films that...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/28/Untitled-1_6.jpg?itok=z5eNSkrh
John Thankamony is Mindshare's new head - programmatic

Mindshare, one of India’s largest full service media agency, a part of GroupM, has announced the appointment of John Thankamony as head – programmatic.

MAM Media and Advertising People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/28/Untitled-1_7.jpg?itok=-Fu6p1g_
Grey gets 'dadis' to bust contraception myths

On the occasion of World Contraception Day, Grey group India has launched a new social media campaign for ICanHelp.in that focuses on various myths and conceptions surrounding contraception among the youth. The campaign invokes young minds to feel comfortable in seeking contraceptives in order to...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/28/Untitled-1_1.jpg?itok=xY0Mcxut
No inhibition: eBay India launches TVC

MUMBAI: eBay India announced their brand new TV campaign #ThingsDon’tJudge today. The campaign aims to inspire consumers to shop online from over 10 crore products available on ebay.in. The TV campaign will go on air today.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/28/Untitled-1.jpg?itok=d-DU8_Y1
Chance to demonstrate proven global tools in India: Havas's new digital head Nitin Karkara

Havas Media Group India has appointed Nitin Karkara as head – Digital, to promote and drive growth for the 360 degree digital offering of Havas Media in India for existing and new clients.

MAM Media and Advertising People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/28/Chakra_1.jpg?itok=885MCmNg
Chakra movies to air on Toonami; Astra Force coming soon

MUMBAI: After its successful debut on Cartoon Network in 2013, Graphic India and Stan Lee’s "Chakra The Invincible" is back with three new installments of "Made for TV" movies for Turner International. Chakra is the brainchild Graphic India’s Sharad Devarajan, and POW Entertainment founder Stan Lee...

MAM Marketing MAM
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/27/Untitled-1_26.jpg?itok=Xk83DILP
Neeraj Roy elected as IAA India chapter president

The India Chapter of International Advertising Association has elected Hungama Digital Media CEO Neeraj Roy as its president.

MAM Media and Advertising People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/27/Untitled-1_1.jpg?itok=fwyfOMMp
Salman endorses 'fully fantastic' Dixcy

Dixcy Textiles has rolled out its new advertising campaign. The TVC features the biggest entertainer in Bollywood Salman Khan.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/09/27/Swachh%20Bharat.jpg?itok=TacDOT_p
Swachh Bharat Week: Sachin, Amitabh lead promotional videos

NEW DELHI: A series of promotional videos promoting the idea of constructing toilets in every household in the country was released by the prime minister Narendra Modi. The government is celebrating the Swachh Bharat Week, from September 25- October 2.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories