THE Indian advertiser's love affair with the new lady in town, satellite TV, is cooling down. Consider this. In 1996, print is expected to account for 62 per cent of total advertising revenues; this, despite a 25 per cent annual inflation and three rate increases in the year in most leading as well as second-line publications.
Can this appease the mid-life insecurities of the Indian press? Yes and no. TV began to boom four years ago with liberalisation and satellite TV. Advertisers, especially for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), who accounted for the bulk of print advertising revenues till then, moved to TV, en masse. Causing drastic cuts in print ad budgets.
The press found ways to make up for the loss. Financial advertising and its precursor, corporate advertising, rose as capital markets became stronger and broader-based. The press also cultivated segments like tenders, classifieds and local stores. As markets opened up, they not only brought in a host of new brands but also product categories. Consumer durables like pagers, cellphones, luxury cars, all needed the press to detail specific benefits. Says N. Gupta, director, sales and marketing, Videocon: "For products like room ACs where technology features need to be communicated, the press is a better choice. For things like TVs or washing machines, where the viewer is conversant with the technology, TV is the best medium as you can build a story around the product."
The proliferation of satellite channels too has left media planners baffled. While satellite TV, unlike Doordarshan, promises select, upper-end viewership, it's impossible to test the actual impact of a commercial. Predicts S. Ram Datta, resident general manager, Malayala Manorama: "As remote control sets increase, so will channel surfing and further splintering of the audience."...