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Times Network targets 150 SME clients through new sales strategy

MUMBAI: With seven channels in its network and the slated launch of Property Now, Times Network is arming its sales teams with a strategy targeted at roping in 150 new small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the next year.

With the platform ‘Ascend Now’, the network has partnered global agency NRS Media that helps media companies achieve increased short- and long-term media sales and market share. The target is to attract a whole set of new non-TV SME advertisers.

Explaining the move, Times Network MD and CEO MK Anand said, “Presently, our sales team is like any other networks, but by 2016, we want to have the best sales team and want to sell as a network. While the market is growing at 15 per cent, we want to grow at 26 per cent. So besides improvement in products, we also needed improvements in our sales team so we have brought in NRS Media who came up with this sales training offer.”

As part of the initiative, the network has identified 5,000 non-TV advertisers across Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. The week-long workshops on the three markets are meant to educate, create awareness and provide cost-effective advertising opportunities on national television for SMEs and start-ups.

“90–93 per cent of the Indian television advertisers we have talked to are from Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru,” Anand stated.

As the workshops end on 23 September, Times Network is expecting to reach out to over 1,000 SMEs and start-ups. The trend shows that about 150 companies can be converted to real advertisers. This initiative will possibly give a 10 per cent annual increase in the number of advertisers on Times Network.

The 10 per cent additional client count will take up 5–7 per cent of the inventory on the network.

“We are currently operating at 20 minutes but we actually fill only 10–12 minutes because the number of advertisers in English is comparatively few. Secondly, we wish to maintain a certain price and fill the volume. I have inventory so this won’t kill me and if it does, in the interest of getting new advertisers and cultivating them for the future, we are OK to take that hit,” he said.

“We had 17 enclosures yesterday [Day 1 in Mumbai] out of 85, which is 20 per cent and by the end of Day 2, we will be better than that. We are talking to businesses which have the potential to go through geometric progression over the next five years and have thought TV is out of their reach,” he added.

The packages offered ranged from Rs 2.2 million to Rs 6.6 million. The offers are valid for 12 months and are only available on the day of the seminar. Packages such as Gold and Silver – Family Entertainment and Decision Makers offer a fixed number of seconds across the seven channels of the network.

In the inaugural two-day workshop in Mumbai, the senior executives who participated were from companies that have presence in construction, education, food and agro, jewellery manufacturing, internet start-ups, and beauty and lifestyle.

Among the clients locked in on Day 2 in Mumbai were Faaso’s, Clarity Gold, Euro Kids, Pavitravivah.com and Jumbo King.

Anand said, “The seconds are divided across channels. The money will get divided based on the current rate for each channel. So, Times Now and Movies Now will get the highest because their rates are the highest. These will be followed by ET Now, MN+, Zoom and Romedy Now.”

Anand said that there would be a small team to cater to these clients. “We have 50 sales employees participating in this. Their target is to convince at least 15 people.”

The second leg of the workshops will take place in Bengaluru on 18 September and in Delhi in the beginning of the next week.

Packaged food and export company Diat Foods MD Sunil Awatramani said, “It was an informative session. It is a good platform for new advertisers like me to understand the potential of television as a medium of advertising and promotion.”

Mayur Pawar of real estate company Mirador added, “We are one of the leaders in affordable housing in Gujarat. Partnering Times Network through this endeavour will give us a national platform to reach out to our target audience and expand our presence in the all-India market.”

“We are doing another activity for the remaining markets called ‘India 2’, which was launched in April under the leadership of Jogajyoti Pati [earlier AVP of revenue North and East]. We will be having similar workshops next year as part of ‘India 2’,” Anand revealed.

Through the India 2 initiative, the network has got 98 clients and is targeting 160 clients.