20 could have well been a day of relief for television broadcasters, but it got them into more trouble. The 'now there now not there' strike of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) not just left the broadcasters disillusioned about when fresh content would be revived, it also left them answerable to the advertisers who had supported them till then.
While the strike was going on, the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) had urged media agencies and advertisers to support the broadcasters for a period of eight-10 days. The 10 days ended on November 20, the day FWICE called off the strike, only to go back on strike once again. This means that advertisers are now entitled to ask for rebates, discounts or some other way of compensation as long as the strike lasts.
Some of Zee's clients have asked for discounted rates, while others have asked for cancellations until the channel gets back with fresh content. "We have offered discounts and value additions to some of our clients. Most have stayed with us because general entertainment as a genre cannot be ignored. Despite the repeats, we still command the highest GRPs (gross rating points)," says Chakraborty.
Punitha Arumugam, group chief executive officer, Madison Media, says that talks have started with all GECs. "The solution that some advertisers may want to employ is moving their monies to other genres or to work out packages while continuing to be active on the GECs," she explains.
Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, Sony Entertainment Television, says that it's too early to arrive at a conclusion. "Whether we will offer rebates or not depends on the nature of the deals. I wouldn't want to comment on this right now," he says.