Escalating advertising rates and the need to focus on specific audience is driving advertisers to look at new alternatives. Local area advertising on cable is emerging as a viable option. It has everything going for it.

And will plenty of viewers and advertisers too queuing up, Cable TV operators and local area advertising are coming into their own. And with good reasons too One has to only look at the figures. The Indian market research Bureau’s (IMRB)

Cable and satellite report on Bombay and Ahmedabad shows that 94 percent of viewers watch the Hindi Cable Network in the afternoon and viewership soars to a mind boggling 99 percent, for the night transmission. Compare this to viewership for the other channels. Most of the others ATN, star plus and PTV included, hardly draw even half that viewership.

So it is hardly surprising that local area advertising through cable is riding on a boom. And one of the reasons why retailers and manufacturers are plugging into Cable television to reach Consumers is primarily because of the steep rates charged by Door Darshan and Zee TV to air the adds.


For instance, in Bombay, the Door Darshan Metro Channel currently charged Rs.24000 for a 10 second spot and Rs. 2,000 for a 30 second spot. Zee TV offers practically the same rates.

Even newspaper advertising doesn’t come cheap. A 30 column insertion in leading newspapers can go up to Rs.70,000 for an insert. Compare this, to cable television where two 30 second spot a day aired for a month, reaching over one lack people every day, costs only Rs.1 Lakh per month about one hundredth of what similar ads would cost on Doordarshan & Zee TV.

Another reason for popularity of cable television for area advertising is that it offers a viable alternative to retailers and shop owners who want to attract potential customers living in a particular area.

Ashwin Khilani of Blue Diamond Cable and advertising says that initially he received enquiries only from small time clients such as retailers, but the market has expanded considerably with clients such as Gold spot & Kwality Ice Cream among others stepping in.


For the Cable advertising companies too, the advertising is turning out to be lucreative. They take in Rs. 50,000 to Rs.3 lakh per month depending on the scale of operations, and cable TV Operators admit that they get about Rs.20,000 extra every month with not extra effort.

Viewers too aren’t complaining. They are enjoying beauty contests organised by local beauty parlors, beautiful sight competitions courtesy optical show rooms and free quartz clocks it they ring up the cable operators with in ten minutes of the screening of the ad.

The modus operandi is quite simple. Cable ad makers such as the cable shoppers privilege club and Blue Diamond cable and advertising book advertisements from clients in a capsule form. Clients, ranging from small retail out lets in the suburbs to big multinationals, select the area where they want the advertisement to be aired.

The Cable companies single out cable networks in the specified area and offer the advertisements to them. 70 percent of all revenue collected goes to the cable operators and the advertisements are made with the help of technical know how of leading ad agencies.


According to Saleem Khan, business manager, cable shoppers privilege club, there are those few advertisers who budget larger amounts for Cable advertising. For example, Senna Beauty Parlor in Bandra budgeted Rs.3 Lakh for an advertisement that starred, among others, film personalities such as Juhi Chawla and Sanjay Dutta.

A part for being cost effective communication medium, cable television has increasingly been used to organise product sampling and contests as well. For 3 months last year between July and August, the Cable shoppers privilege club offered gift hampers from a leading pickle manufacturing company in the western suburbs.

Khan adds that last year his out fit conducted as a test marketing exercise for Rasna’s New drink, Lemon up. Consumer responses were directly sent to the soft drink concentrate manufacturers who recorded the details for future studies.

Even multinationals like Hindustan Lever have recognised the potential of local area advertising. In 1992, when it launched Le Sancy in Maharashtra, the company decided to take the local area advertising route. Depending on budgets, advertisements could be simple computer animated shoots or sophisticated works of arts that enlist the help of pneumatic studies around the city.


Bunny Assie, owner of the cable shoppers privileged club, has attempted to introduced the concept of info-commercials as compared to the more said documentaries that most viewers automatically switch off have introduced the concept of 10 minute—long demonstrations where in companies lauchning public Issues give detailed information about their track records and prices of shares : he explains.

Even for advertisers, all is not hunky dory. The Cable advertising magic hasn’t for instance, worked for all them zuzer Lucknowalla of party Bites, a fast food catering company, says that initially he opted for cable advertising as a noval marketing technique because he felt mailers and pamphlets were passe. Also, viewers who watched late night films on cable.

On the whole, his ads have been shawn by 14 cable operators from Cuffe parade and colaba to Marine Drive and church gate, Bombay. But he feels that the entire exercise has not been worth while. Effective or not, there is no denying that local area advertising on cable is here to stay.

And the happy ones are the viewers who stand to gain a pair of Ray Ban for guessing their price, a free trip to Goa for singling out the terminator in the Red mania contest, a hamper of cosmetic goodies by answering inane beauty care questions.