Reliance Broadcast Network's Big FM has started airing radio spots mentioning the defaulting advertisers' name and the amount owed to the station. The station started airing these spots two weeks ago, and the latest recovery tactic is eliciting received mixed responses from the industry.
A spot aired for a client in Tamil roughly translates into: “(Company name) , represented by their Chennai chief executive officer (CEO's name), has advertised on the station and owes the station around Rs 27,83,533. Despite repeated reminders, they have not paid the money and so we are planning legal action against the company. This is a public service announcement to warn others in case they are contemplating doing business with them.”
LIsten to the audio clipping
Srinivasan Swamy, chairman and managing director, RK Swamy BBDO, said, “If someone can't pay as per their commitment, they should know that they could be shamed.” He termed this as a “bold step by Big FM” and something that “every media owner could emulate”. However, he was quick to caution, “It is a good practice only if the announcement is based on undisputed defaults and adequate opportunities were provided to pay.”
Vanita Keswani, chief operating officer, Madison Media Sigma, notes that the move has no precedent, and says that this is not a healthy practice. “It is absolutely uncalled for, to subject the radio listeners to such privy information even from a content point of view,” she added.
Habeeb Nizamuddin, chief growth officer, Lodestar UM, shares the view that this is not a healthy practice. He points out, “This highlights the absence of an effective redressal forum for the radio industry and that is something that needs to be addressed jointly by the radio industry first.”