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Entertainment and Media research: Viewing the viewer as a consumer

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Lakshmi Seth, vice-president of Quantum Research, tried to explain the need to understand the need of the consumer and more specifically the movie consumer.

By citing extensive case studies (done for their client to find out the different types of movie consumption patterns among specific target audiences of regular movie goers between the age groups of 16 to 22 yrs) Seth detailed what she felt were some emerging changes in the consumer mindset. "It is not only the name of the star but other brands attached to it like who the producer is or who directed the film which makes a difference for the consumer."

The study revealed how attitudinal differences can create segments among the consumers. "We have arrived at seven broad categories of consumers - obsessed, critical, timepass, etc and studied there responses towards films, the way they expressed it i.e. behavioral approach and the hidden needs that are fulfilled."

"Now the film industry is treating viewers as consumers who have specific needs and around whom movies are tailored, says Seth. As movies become more and more like consumer products, other factors like branding, packaging and marketing are becoming increasingly important. "The segregation and understanding of the audience will not only help the filmmaker to know his target consumer, what their needs are and whether the film is providing that or not, but also make it fairly clear how to reach to them," she says.

The survey has also revealed that both males and females showed the same mindset towards movies.

While elaborating more on qualitative research, Seema Khanvalkar of ORG-Marg, put forth the semiotic analysis which is the study of text used in media right from advertising to TV serials to the movies.

"Every text has got some hidden message, so it is important to decode it to understand what it is trying to convey," says Khanvalkar. Cultural background and ideology has to be understood to know the impact of the text. She also stressed the need to understand the image, status attached to the particular product like a person going for an English movie has got some specific expectations while a person going for a Govinda movie has different expectations. One has to take into consideration all these things before making any product.

Media buying strategy was covered by Sam Balsara, chairman of Madison Media. "The mammoth growth in the advertising time on television from 20 million seconds two years ago to 50 million seconds today has increased the responsibility of the media buyer. There are around 70 channels catering to different segments of a vast population in India," says Balsara.

Earlier, the belief of 'bigger the agency, better the rate' is no more relevant as there is something beyond mere rate that decides media buying. Astute media buying, strategic media planning and efficient media operations are the three things that will decide the return on media investment of the client.

So the onus is on the media buyers to choose the spots taking into consideration the type of the product as well as programme and depending on the target audience, media buying will be decided.

Tapan Pal, president and CEO, Zenith Media, went into details of the efficacy of the rating system. Citing the example of significant deviation between TAM and INTAM rating for the same programme, he suggested that both agencies should segregate areas among themselves and try to concentrate on that area which will widen its coverage. "The increase in numbers will give more realistic results." High accuracy and the speed at a low cost is the very essence of data collection. As more and more channels come into the picture and audiences get further segregated, the need for accurate data will be needed as never before.

Meenakshi Madhvani, CEO Carat Media, stressed the need to make better use of available data by advertisers as well as media buyers for a better understanding of the market.

Pravin Tripathi, MD, Starcom, was the moderator of the discussion.

Session:Entertainment & Media Research

Moderator:Pravin Tripathi, MD, Starcom

Speakers:

Laxmi Seth, vice-president, Quantum Research - Understanding the Movie Consumers

Sam Balsara, chairman of Madison Media - Media buying strategy

Tapan Pal, president and CEO, Zenith Media - Efficacy of rating system

Meenakshi Madhvani, CEO Carat Media

Seema Khanvalkar and Indrani Vidyarthi,ORG-Marg - Qualitative Studies

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