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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2003

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Blasts may not impact advertising

Rina Chandran

Mumbai , Aug. 26

AS reports of Monday's twin blasts began to be carried on the news networks, some advertisers pulled their ads from Tuesday's publications in Mumbai for fear that a bandh in the city would disrupt business. But publications expect that few advertisers will cancel their ads in the days ahead, as the events were restricted to Mumbai.

"An event like this upsets the business mood and overall sentiment, but it is not as big as WTC (September 11, 2001), or the Parliament attacks (December 13, 2001) - this was only in Mumbai," said Mr Manish Porwal, General Manager - Investment & New Business Initiatives, Starcom. "I would imagine that ambient advertising and ads that use imagery would have a problem with some of the images, but I don't believe any of our clients will cancel their ads." Starcom's clients are upping their media spends this festival season by 30-50 per cent, he added.

Some advertisers - particularly international airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Swissair, and some luxury hotel brands - have a policy that their ads will not appear alongside reports or images of violence. However, Singapore Airlines has not had to enforce this clause in India so far, and does not have an ongoing campaign currently, a spokesperson said. Publications also use their discretion in determining where ads will appear in relation to the reports and pictures, said a spokesperson for the weekly news magazine, Outlook.

As for TV news channels, spikes in viewership during major news events generally attract more advertisers, starting a week to 10 days after the event. This has happened after the Gujarat earthquake, the WTC attacks and the Parliament attack, according to TAM Media Research. However, Monday's events have greater local news interest, and while viewership for news channels in Mumbai and Maharashtra will be up, it is unlikely to translate into more advertising, a spokesperson for TAM Media Research said.

News channels had ad revenues of about Rs 300 crore in 2002, but viewership has fallen this year as compared to 2001.

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Blasts may not impact advertising

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