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DD News gets aggressive on ad front

Nithya Subramanian

New Delhi , Nov 5

IT'S clearly the case of once bitten twice shy. In the highly competitive news channels market, Prasar Bharati is not taking chances and has decided to get aggressive with its marketing plans for the newly launched news channel.

For the first time, the national broadcaster has come out with a `market-friendly' advertising rate card and has tried to throw in some freebies in a bid to generate revenues. This is because the Finance Ministry had earlier asked Prasar Bharati to sustain the channel internally and not rely on Budgetary support.

And the efforts seem to be paying off because within the first few days of launch, DD News has managed to tie up advertising of over Rs 1 crore.

According to officials, while there are no specific targets for the current year, the revenue target for the next fiscal has been fixed at Rs 25 crore.

"We have now introduced new rate cards to attract big advertisers," said an official.

The sponsorship rate for a half-an-hour show has been pegged at Rs 10,000 with 240 seconds of free commercial time (FCT) while the rate during non-prime time is Rs 5,000 for a half-hour slot with 270 seconds of FCT.

The rates for film-based shows are much higher at Rs 12,000 for a half-an hour slot during prime time and Rs 6,000 for a non-prime time show. The channel is focusing on spot buys rather than sponsorship and rates have been pegged at Rs 3,000 for a 10 seconder during prime time and Rs 2,000 for a 10 seconds spot during non-prime time.

"Besides this, there are sops for bulk buyers who are planning to invest between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 50 lakh which includes spots on DD Bharati as well," said officials. Also, for the first time the channel will offer a special rate for ads falling under the run-of-the-day parts (ads which can be aired anytime during the day).

All Out Mosquito Repellent is the first brand to have signed on and has committed advertising of about Rs 61 lakh.

"It will sponsor the news headlines, text headlines and stock ticker branding," said sources. Some auto companies and food companies are also in the fray.

While the new rates by DD are in line with the existing rates of other private channels, media planners said that the main advantage of DD News is its reach due its terrestrial nature.

"However, it will have to compete with the private channels which are aggressive in marketing and have slicker content," they said.

The size of the news channel market is estimated to be at about Rs 250 crore with TV Today's Aaj Tak leading the pack. Star News, NDTV and Sahara are some of the other prominent players.

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