Menon's media planning & buying tome

MUMBAI: She made a mark as an astute media professional at Lodestar Universal, Starcom, JWT and in the business intelligence unit of Ananda Bazar Patrika. Now Arpita Menon has penned a book on her profession.

The book was officially released by her former boss Shashi Sinha at the Crossword store on 15 January in Mumbai.

Published by McGraw Hill and titled Media Planning & Buying, Principles and Practices in the Indian context, the book is a must read for anyone with the slightest interest in this esoteric profession. The book begins with a segment which introduces the environment, the roles within a media agency, the structures of a media gency, and follows it up with a chapter on metrics relating to TV and print and others on media strategy, defining target groups, market prioritization, media weights, media mix decisions, scheduling, building a plan, evaluating media buys, the buying process, plan implementation, budget setting and the solutions approach.
Through this she covers the entire gamut of the media process, and that too with specific reference to the Indian context. She also offers practical advice like: “An approach of treating media partners as only suppliers and using the size of the client’s business as a bludgeon to beat down the rates is an extremely short sighted approach. …A good buyer should never approach a buy from a superior postion. A mature buyer ensures that the deal is done in a fashion which does not come at the cost of media partner’s interests- a classical win-win deal."

Something which all in Indian media know, but, something that very few media practitioners follow. Getting a better rate/10 second spot is primarily what drives buyers in India today, especially in tough times.
Menon has brought in all the knowledge and her years of practical experience while writing her book. Hence it is peppered with examples, samples, cases, problems and solutions related to what happens in the real media planning and buying world. So the book can serve as more than an academic learning tool for industry executives who want an insight into the media professional’s mind.

However, its greater good comes from the fact that it fills a long standing vacuum for a text book on media planning and buying relevant to India. Normally, students in the scores of media training institutes that have come up recently have to rely on the practical experience of industry professionals who double up partime teachers to learn about the media profession. Now students can use Menon’s tome as an additional reference resource.
The book was written in a time where there was one major GEC leader in Star Plus; Colors had just popped up on the media horizon. Since Colors has succeeded, the media environment has multiplied in its complexity and planning and buying in a teeming with competition market has become that much more challenging. Guess one will have to wait for the next edition for Menon to give her perspective on that. Definitely worth a buy.

(Media Panning and Buying - Principle and Practices in the Indian Context, Author, Arpita Menon, pages 345, Published by Tata McGraw Hill, price Rs 495)

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