Indrani Sen: Reincarnation of Media Sales

17 Aug,2020

By Indrani Sen


The pandemic has affected media revenues adversely, but at the same time approach to media sales have undergone a sea change. Most of the media houses who used to have separate sales team for selling traditional media and digital media have integrated them to a seamless force. Digital media marketing has become much more data driven and focussed on interpretation of data. In fact, approach to media selling has started encroaching into the territory of media planning.

Last week, on August 13, 2020, I received two interesting mailers “Your Cheat Sheet for Streaming Trends” from Jio Saavan and “Introducing HT AdWorks – Personalised Media Consultation and Discounted Ad Prices across Mediums” from HT Media Ltd. The Jio Saavan mailer showed a very creative way of pushing their brand for digital media campaigns based on their research findings and HT Media cleverly introduced packages for their media brands across different verticals under the guise of media consultancy.

The first mailer from Jio Saavan was based on the findings of their Digital Audio Playbook for a New Reality”. Interesting charts showed highlights from the research along with cues for digital audio panning, eg. 520% growth in throwback hits with a suggested cue for spreading good vibes through narratives that provide an escape from life. The mailer also included an invite for a free downloading for the Playbook. For some time various digital media platforms have started offering content solutions to the advertisers along with media buying deals, the Jio Saavan offer goes beyond creative solutions to the domain of providing interpretation of research and strategic solutions. Using research as a strategic tool for planning was the forte of media agencies, now that is being challenged by digital media marketing.

HT Media’s mailer on ‘HT Adworks’ with a tagline of ‘Grow your business’ invited registration for a free digital event for better understanding of their membership based program for cost effective and personalised media plans. The link provided in the mailer opens up with registration facility for two digital events in Delhi and Bangaluru, a write up about the programme and a facility to download an e-brochure on HT Adworks. As shown below, the benefits of the programme, advertised on the website, cover all the aspects of media planning and buying across Print, Radio and Digital verticals where HT Media brands are present.



The digital events by HT AdWorks focus on Delhi and Bengaluru which indicates that the programme has been designed for small and medium scale advertisers. However, some of the large advertisers may also be interested in participating in HT Adworks. The question which comes up automatically is if the budget allotted to HT media brands through this channel will remain a part of the overall media budget routed through media agencies or will be routed through HT Adworks directly for getting the ‘exclusive discounts’?

Long back, in the days of fixed 15% agency commission, media sales used to dictate their terms to the agencies. In the digital age, we are seeing a reincarnation of media sales with media houses bypassing the role of media agencies by offering the advertisers all the functions of the media agencies along with exclusive discounts. We have been witnessing vertical as well as diagonal expansion by all traditional media houses over the last three decades along with consolidations and mergers in the media business. Most of the large media houses now have multiple brands in their stable under traditional as well as digital verticals. A spread of media sales practice like HT AdWorks can play havoc with the business of media agencies.



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