Prajjal Saha

STAR Plus hikes advertising rates by 15-40 per cent

Reasons include the better performance of the channel, new category of advertisers coming to STAR Plus, the flop show in cricket and the channel launching new shows

STAR Plus is hiking its advertising rates. The increase in rates will range between 15-40 per cent, depending on the shows. The development was confirmed by Kevin Vaaz, executive vice-president, advertising sales, STAR India.

Citing the reason behind this development, Vaaz says, "There are actually multiple reasons. These include the better performance of the channel, new category of advertisers coming to STAR Plus, the flop show in cricket, the channel launching new shows and others. But the main reason is the performance of the channel,which has sharply improved in the last 8 weeks. This has inspired us to restructure our tariff plan."

Vaaz is referring to the mega serial 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhie Bahu Thi' notching up an all-time high TVR of 19.41 (TAM, Hindi Speaking markets, 4+). Vaaz is also proud that Kasauti Jindagi Ki held the number one position among all TV shows for a couple of weeks. Even in the 9 pm time band, which earlier used to get an average TVR of 6-7, now sees an average TVR of 9-10.

The STAR executive said that for popular serials such as Kyunki... and Kasauti..., a 30-second ad-slot comes with a new price tag of Rs 20 lakh. In percentage terms, this represents a hike of about 30 per cent. For shows such as Kumkum and Bhabhi in the afternoon time band, a similar 30-second spot has been priced between Rs 12-15 lakh, which translates into a 40 per cent raise from the previous rates.

"Recently, the TVRs for the afternoon band on STAR Plus has almost doubled," Vaaz says, while explaining the 40 per cent hike in afternoon shows.

"Even recently launched serials like K-Street Pali Hill and Dekho Magar Pyar Se are doing pretty well," he adds. Advertisers, Vaz says, are excited that STAR Plus is launching a couple of new shows in different time bands. The fact that the channel is also revamping the 9 pm time band on weekdays with two new shows has also not gone unnoticed. One of the forthcoming shows is 'Milli', while the other one is being produced by Balaji Telefilms.

Vaaz explains, "Whenever new programmes are launched replacing the low scoring shows, the channel sees an increase in viewership. Going by this logic, since so many new shows are being launched, STAR Plus will certainly see an increase in viewership."

STAR Plus, which has traditionally faced competition from cricket events, is one entity which is clearly benefiting from the debacle of the Indian cricket team. As the viewership of cricket events has gone down, advertisers have literally flocked to STAR Plus in droves. Brands such as 2-wheeler company TVS, which almost always associated itself with mega cricket events, have also come to STAR Plus recently.

This has, in effect, increased the demand for STAR Plus' advertising space. Vaaz says, the entire ad space for the October-December quarter has been sold out in October. "This shows the scramble for the STAR Plus ad slots. Incidentally, even the last quarter (July-September) saw our ad sales increasing by 30 per cent."

The other reason for the increase in demand is the emergence of a new category of advertisers such as insurance, pharma, banking and financial institutions and small FMCG companies. These entities have not only increased their advertising budget, they have also raised the frequency.

STAR Plus, which was earlier considered to have women-oriented shows, was largely approached by brands mainly targeted at women. Vaaz says, the trend has now changed and several male-oriented products have started advertising on the channel. In fact, he says, the advertising spend by the 2-wheeler industry alone has increased by 3-4 times in recent times. He named LML, Bajaj and Honda scooters as the recent advertisers on the channel.

Even the car segment seems to have noticed the channel of late. While earlier advertisements were limited to mass cars such as Maruti 800 and Hyundai Santro, the latest additions are premium car brands such as Hyundai Accent and GM Optra.

© 2004 agencyfaqs!

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