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Star India gets AdSharp; targets regional advertisers

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MUMBAI: The Modi sarkar promised acche din aane wale hai. If one saw the full page advertisement by India's leading TV network Star India in The Economic Times on 3 July then it looks like good days could be coming the way of regional, small and medium advertisers which have been looking at advertising on the mainline GEC but have found the sticker price too high.

The who’s who of the advertising industry took notice of the path-breaking step initiated by Star network CEO Uday Shankar.

The network’s advertisement says, “Grow your business with the power of Star!" and invites marketers, planners and advertisers to attend  free  45-minute seminars through which they can get familiarised with the art of targeting their customers in a cost-effective manner to stay ahead of the competition.

The target advertiser is  those businesses which are still not advertising on television. Media observers believe that India is a land of opportunity and various small and medium sized businesses have an opportunity to grow by advertising their products on TV, but have been loath to do so because they don't have agencies, TVCs and also find the cost exorbitant. They cite the example of CavinKare's Chik shampoo which began as a small regional player, but went on to challenge even the MNCs successfully. 

The Star India seminars are likely to give more details for its, soon-to-be launched offering, AdSharp, which marks the network’s plunge into geo-targeted advertising in an organised manner. Through it, advertisers can target customers region specifically, as the ads will be local.

The network which has advertising revenues of around Rs 5,000 crore annually is hoping to increase those top line numbers by luring the small and medium advertiser.

The first of such seminars will start from Mumbai (15-19 July), followed by Pune (24-26 July), Delhi (5-9 August) and the last will be in Ahmedabad (21-23 August). Registration began almost a month back.

The invitees can choose from the seven sessions offered in each day-long seminar. The day will not be just about selling and buying of geo-targeted air time by its ad sales team; attending advertisers will also get a chance to get a TV commercial produced free for them by Star India on taking up a package.

HDFC Life senior executive vice president - head marketing, product, digital & e-commerce Sanjay Tripathy believes that Star India's first of its kind initiative is laudatory and "will help the network increase its client base."

Rivals also expressed appreciation.  Zee’s chief sales officer Ashish Sehgal believes that Star's seminar campaign  will educate advertisers who have been sitting on the periphery on how to market locally and eventually help expand the overall TV ad market.

 “We have been offering geo-targeted advertising for more than a year now with Amagi. We are part of almost every geo-targeted advertising plan that Amagi does for smaller regional advertisers, and this has worked well for us,” says Sehgal while highlighting that technology plays an important role here. "Broadcasters can choose to outsource geo-targeting to a third party or do it in-house; we have chosen the former so far."

Similarly, Amagi’s co-founder KA Srinivasan says that if the largest Indian broadcast network starts pushing geo-targeted advertising then it validates what he and some others have been doing for years now. “It is a good move for the industry and geo-targeting will only pick up in the coming years.”

Star’s Adsharp which was scheduled to launch by June end, will now be launched by next week or so. It has opted for Cisco as its technical partner for the geo-targeting service.

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