Dentsu Media Ltd is getting ready to unveil its Lastminuteinventory.com, a portal that it says will help broadcasters sell last-minute advertisement-time inventory to registered media specialists.
While this is the first attempt by an advertising agency to launch an advertising auction site here in an organized manner, previous attempts have generally fizzled out.
Madison Media Group had launched Adnova, an online media exchange, which attempted to trade advertising inventory online, among other services. The media site, Exchange4media.com, also explored online advertising trading. Industry experts say these ventures failed to take off because clients were worried about information on such ad rates ending up with rivals.
Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Dentsu Group, was travelling and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Some media buying specialists are, however, more than wary of Dentsu Media’s advertising auction portal since they say it has the potential to disintermediate them out of the buying-selling process in the long term, especially if advertisers are ultimately allowed to deal directly with the Dentsu portal online and save media commissions otherwise payable to the media buyer.
Through such a site, Pan-Asian ad deals could also be struck in the future, says Shashi Sinha, chairman of media specialist Lodestar Universal Ltd.
The Advertising Agencies Assocation of India (AAAI) is also keen to understand the model. “The nature of this auction-based website is not yet known,” says AAAI president Madhukar Kamath, who is also managing director of the Mudra Group. “Things should get clearer by the next AAAI meet which is when we would issue a comment.”
With media proliferating and more media buyers doing last-minute buys to get discounts, Dentsu’s timing is good, says Sam Balsara, chairman, Madison Group.
“From a rate perspective, though, it will lead to a downward pressure on advertisement rates,” he says. “The danger is that once clients have bought inventory in this manner, they would reduce buying inventory on a long-term basis. Or else, if I as a client am buying long term, then I would demand a price that’s close to what I bought last minute.”
At least one advertiser had mixed reaction to the move.
“It’s an interesting model, but we at Kinetic like to plan in advance what we are going to do and go in for long-term plans,” said Ajinkya Firodia, vice-president, sales and marketing, Kinetic Motor Co. Ltd.
Still, says Firodia, “if there’s an attractive deal, we just may go for it.”
Among the broadcaster community, whose inventory is expected to be sold via the site, there is some apprehensions about a media buyer (Dentsu) doubling up as a media seller, but many think the website would boost their revenues, if buyers can compete for last-minute inventory. Currently, most last-minute inventory is disposed of at heavily discounted prices.
Rohit Gupta, vice-president, SET India Pvt. Ltd, which runs Sony Entertainment Television, says: “I think that this model works better for broadcasters, because it simply leaves no room for negotiation ... If you need to dispose of last-minute ad time in a hurry, you just need to post it on the site”
Not everybody echoed that sentiment. Joy Chakraborthy, revenue head of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, says it’s all a question of demand.
“I prefer the traditional way of media-buying since I don’t want anybody to sell for me. Most broadcasters wouldn’t like their rates to be disclosed to anyone, so I don’t see how this model can work for them.”
Dentsu has bulk-bought advertising time of coveted TV properties in other markets such as Tokyo and they could bring such experiences to the India experiment.