In pursuit of what in 2007?


The CAS word gets TAM India CEO LV Krishnan thinking about what this brave new world could mean for the likes of the airtime sales exec and media planner.

In the shifting sands of time the mind does seek for a grip; In the solitude of space constant change is unnerving; only the whiff of victory

propel one to destination

As the sun set on 2006, the glow of the last rays had fired the embers left behind by the changes initiated in the arena of TV channel ground distribution during the last few months. The beginning of 2007 itself is seeing a market place oscillating between the old fashioned Analog Technology to a new era of Digital Technology unleashed on the unsuspecting TV viewers by the Government, Multi System Cable operators, Broadcast Satellite owners as well as Telecom companies. With technology gizmos flying all around as well as the jargons attached to it, one is left wondering, what is going on in the simple minds of a Media Planner and Air time Sales member of our industry? Does large industry issues we debate about, top their concern? Take a guess…

As one mingled with many of them, the concerns or issues were the same… What are we pursuing at the end of the chase?

A perspective from the Media Planner's diary

March 2006: I read in today's Media website that the Delhi High court has given a ruling to the effect that Conditional Access System is mandatory in South of Mumbai, Delhi & Calcutta for receiving pay TV. This was going to happen in the next few weeks…


June 2006: It didn't happen…does it ever happen as proclaimed?


December2006: Will it happen this month? Will await Dec 31st to know…

January 2007: It happened!

As I walked into my office the very next day…the first day of the New Year, I wondered…

Gosh, what will happen to my life? My Brands - Media Plans & Buys are ready to be executed, but now, will I have to put everything on hold? What will I answer my client? Will plan deliveries fall down in the 3 Metros? By how much? What is TAM data indicating?

In a confused state of mind, I decided to get out of office to take a walk along the Worli sea-line hoping for some fresh breath from a magic genie.

Yes, the winter air was filled with a new whiff. No doubt it was energizing my legs as I broke into a steady walk. As I took a sample of the freshness of 2007, the mind cleared to open up new possibilities staring at us… potential of ensuing change began to dawn on me. The revolution was just beginning and I was determined to ride the wave of change.

With a renewed vigour, I walked back to my desk to put a call to my client. He was pretty surprised to hear me say that I will be coming down to meet him the same evening to explain to him the consequences of changes happening in the TV media.

Next, I started with some desk work. I wanted to understand the magnitude of the change expected to be brought about by the CAS notification on Zone 1. A simple analysis from NRS 2006 as well as the TAM CAS document circulated earlier indicated to me that 1.6 million C&S homes across the 3 metros of Mumbai, Delhi & Calcutta will come under the purview. This meant one-fifth (20%) of C&S homes in the 3 metros or just one-twentieth (5%) of C&S homes represented by TAM All India Class I town panel.

Hence if all the homes in the notified areas for CAS in the 3 metros did not go for set top boxes, the maximum impact in reach of my media plan due to of loss of viewing of pay channels on a National level is going to be less than 5%. In other words, the planned reach of 60% on a National scale could come down to 57%. This could only be the worst scenario. But things are already looking better with demand for set top boxes on the rise with each day passing…

I then looked at my media plan composition - list of Pay TV channels & Free-to-Air TV (FTA) channels used to deliver the reach. On comparing this with the Free-to-Air channels available, I decided to make a few minor adjustments whereby by making minor spot changes between Free-to-Air & Pay TV channels, I was easily able to hike up the planned reach to 58% on a National level!

As I started receiving the news that the demand for CAS set top boxes are increasing, I decided to stretch the brand campaign by a few days. This could help me leverage any additional homes that moved into using a set top box for accessing/viewing Pay TV content.

What made me feel even more confident about achieving the media plan goal was the news that almost all the homes acquiring a CAS set top box will receive all the Pay & FTA TV channels he used to get before Dec 31st. This meant that, while in theory CAS set top box was supposed to act like a filter by providing the viewer with the choice to subscribe, at present it is only used as an enabler to watch all Pay & FTA TV channels which was available to the viewer earlier as a simple cable TV home. Thus, viewer behaviour in terms of channels watched post CAS set top box acquisition couldn't have changed, thereby helping me to deliver my planned reach goals too.

I am awaiting with bated breath the first TAM CAS penetration study later this month, more to understand the length of time it is going to take for viewers to start experiencing a shift to the world of digital content. I for one will be looking for the profiles of the CAS homes to try and plan execution of the new brand creative my marketing manager has promised. I have lots of ideas up my sleeve, waiting to explode in the digital space!

A perspective from the Airtime Sales member's diary

January 2007: I looked up my watch and exclaimed "Damn it, going to be late again." It was all because of this silly traffic…

2007 had started with a sense of purpose. Yes, there were changes happening around. Positive, I could say. I was heading to meet a very important Up-market personal product marketing head. I was pleased that I could get the appointment after struggling for some many months to get it…only because I was going to show him something different!

From the telephonic chat I had with him yesterday, I could sense his voice perk up when he heard about my channel's new programming, showing promise among his set of exclusive consumers.

I got out of the cab and rushed across the street clutching hard to my presentation papers. I approached the front office of the organization gasping for breath. The receptionist looked at her watch, acknowledged my presence on the intercom and then, silently led me to the massive board room. As I sat, wrapped around by the chilly air sent out by the humming air-conditioner, my mind whirred with excitement. At the same time, I had a sense of apprehension as it was for the first time I was going to present the findings about my channel from the Elite panel and I was not sure, how the marketing head could react.

Suddenly, a booming voice saying "Hello" came in from behind. As I turned around, I came in contact with the marketing head, who was by then extending his arm to welcome me. Pleasantries were exchanged and we got quickly to the brass tracks.

I opened my small presentation folder displaying the sheets about his products and target consumers. I could see him nodding to my opening statements. I was feeling relieved that I was bang-on in guessing his product's consumer profile. This led me to draw up the next few sheets that explained the profile of viewers my channel catered on a daily basis. I could see him show inquisitiveness to my reports. Soon we got drawn into the discussion about my channel's performance and the question I was waiting for all along got popped out. "How do you say that my consumers watch TV and therefore content related to your channel?"

My best was yet to come. I opened up the data from the Elite panel to reveal to him the new, latest finding…

His Up-scale consumers did spent time watching TV (unlike his thinking), but they spent less time watching it vis-?-vis the average TV viewer and even an SEC A TV viewer on the TAM National panel.

The other important observation that impressed him was that the TV viewership of the Elite viewers was far more fragmented as compared to an average viewer and also the SEC A viewer in the National panel.

While 26 channels accounted for 80% of viewership for the SEC A viewers, it took 35 channels that made up 80% share of viewing for the Elite viewers, a testimony to the wider content preference for the Elite! This invariably means that, in order to reach to the Elite viewers, the marketing head had to consume air-time across more channels of distinct content appealing to his Up-market consumers.

As I progressed with my charts and comments, the final one hit the bulls-eye. Certain genres like English Movie channels, Business news, English news & English Entertainment channels had a visible skew towards the Elite audience as compared to even the SEC A viewers in the National panel. This made the marketing head look up. I could see a huge smile on his face as he made the comment "I always knew this and keep saying so to all my team members." I just smiled back at him with the hope that I could have finally bagged the campaign, I thought, that deserved to run on my channel.

It did happen as I visualized the very next moment. The marketing head picked up the nearby intercom, spoke a few words to the person on the other end, and then turned around to me to say the final words, the most precious words I have been waiting to hear "…the campaign will include your channel too."

That evening, I was certainly heady. We celebrated the win back in the office with a champagne pop up. 2007 indeed has begun for me in a new way I couldn't have imagined a few days back. A real nice kick start and I hope to keep riding that way!

Latest Reads

2017 was a regulatory roller coaster and the ride continues

NEW DELHI: The year 2017 for the media industry certainly couldn’t be called easy from the point of doing business despite efforts and claims by the federal government that significant progress had been made in the regard.

Specials Year Enders
Guest column: Digital outlook for 2018

MUMBAI: The year 2017 is behind us and, as we peek into 2018, there is so much to look forward to. The digital landscape is so dynamic and ever-evolving that an annual trend-spotting article would be unfair. But still there are key areas where digital is heading and I can safely say that 2018 is...

Specials Year Enders
Content segmentation defines English entertainment, movies in 2017

MUMBAI: It was the year of HD for English entertainment in India. Add to it, the bump up in the number of movie premieres and series that you could now see in better quality. Increased adoption of HD set top boxes encouraged broadcasters to go for HD. Content segmentation has emerged as a big...

Specials Year Enders
DTH's year of consolidation

MUMBAI: It would be safe to say that this was the year of the big DTH challenge. India’s cable TV multi system operators (MSOs) could not go into many phase IV areas and DTH stepped in wherever analogue broadcast signals were switched off following the crossing of the digital addressable system (...

Specials Year Enders
2017 a year of rebranding and extending time slots for Hindi GECs

MUMBAI: The year 2017 was a roller-coaster ride for Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) in the truest spirit of the term. The tussle for the top slot in the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) ratings has seen pay TV and free-to-air (FTA) channels hold on tight to the rope.

Specials Year Enders
The year of hiccups for marketers

MUMBAI: The year 2017 was when brands were unwillingly thrown into a roller-coaster ride only to emerge dizzy and faint. The highs weren’t enough to ride out the lows.

Specials Year Enders
2017: The year OTTs went regional in India

MUMBAI: Over-the-top (OTT) services were undoubtedly the centre of attraction in 2017. The boom in India’s internet users, mainly aided by the growth of Reliance Jio, ensured that OTT players got the right reception and target audience. Not just  mainstream TV broadcasters but even smaller players...

Specials Year Enders
Making the news: A look at what news broadcasters did in 2017

MUMBAI: News channels were thrown into a storm of activity in 2017 with each player keeping up its oars to wade out of challenges that hit at them like ten-foot waves. With elections and sensational news driving up viewership at various points throughout the year, English news channels had to...

Specials Year Enders
Guest Column: The comeback of full-service agencies in India

By 2020, we will be close to a billion digitised screens. With the advent of cheaper data and smartphones and by virtue of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon entering the grassroots of India, digitisation has become inevitable. And it’s going to be mobile plus digitised television (...

Specials Year Enders

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories