MSM increases IPL ad rates by 20 per cent

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | April 08, 2011
Multi Screen Media is optimistic that its ad revenues from the property will be around Rs 1,000 crore - an increase of 30 per cent from last year.

With the ICC Cricket World Cup fever coming to an end, all eyes are riveted on the fourth edition of the much glamour-smitten Indian Premiere League (IPL).

As advertisers are more than willing to get onto the IPL platform to cash upon the hype created by the preceding World Cup semi-final and final matches, broadcaster Multi Screen Media (MSM) is optimistic that its ad revenues from the property will go up by at least 30 per cent this year.

In 2010, the league had reaped more than Rs 700 crore in advertising revenue for the network. This year, MSM expects to generate approximately Rs 1,000 crore of ad revenue from the same. The IPL is scheduled to begin on April 8.

Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, licensing and telephony, MSM, says, "We have increased our ad rates by 20 per cent this year and our inventories are already going full. Only 10-15 per cent of the overall inventory has been kept aside, which will be available for the semi-finals and finals at a premium."

For the record, MSM began selling the ad spots for the new IPL season at Rs 5.5 lakh and with time, it has already upped the rates to Rs 6.5 lakh per 10-second spot. Last year, the broadcaster had started selling its initial inventory to advertisers for Rs 5 lakh per 10-second spot.

SET Max, on which the game is telecast, minted about Rs 300 crore from IPL Season 1, and about Rs 500 crore from IPL Season 2, held in South Africa.

Gupta informs that MSM's endeavour for the IPL since the last two years has been to increase its advertiser base. "Our focus for this year has been to get more FMCG brands on board, a category that otherwise has not shown much interest in buying cricket in the past," says Gupta.

"This year, with new clients on board, our advertiser base has gone up by 10 per cent," he adds.

Media experts state that rates of cricket as a TV genre will continue to grow as it is able to deliver on media plans. More brands are now using cricket as their core medium for communications.

They further observe that the IPL has expanded the overall advertiser base for cricket, since FMCGs have now begun to understand the impact of the league. Therefore, the game is no longer restricted to only brands with a male TG (target group) skew.

According to Shailesh Kapoor, chief executive officer and co-founder, Ormax Media, "The peak brand recall in the World Cup was 3.3. However, the average recall during IPL Season 3 was 4.4 brands, peaking to seven brands on weekends."

The key difference between the two events, notes Kapoor, is that the IPL doesn't have any major ICC regulations, and hence, has a lot more in-match innovations such as Karbonn Kamaal Catches, Maxx Mobile Strategic Time Out, and DLF Maximum.

"This creates higher recall and buzz for these brands. Hence, it can be argued that the IPL has more to offer to the advertiser per rating point than the World Cup," he says.

It would be interesting to note here that according to Ormax Media's syndicated study on ICC World Cup Day After Cricket (DAC), the average number of brands recalled at an unaided level increased from 2.7 in Week 1, to 3.1 in the last week, peaking at 3.3 brands in the India-Pak semi-finals.

The IPL also brings in city loyalty and that has a huge impact on the overall viewership of the tournament. Therefore, as far as marketing the property is concerned, MSM is giving a significant thrust to the regional space. While 20 per cent of its TV spends will be on national channels, regional and HSM channels will comprise the remaining 80 per cent.

"The local market is extremely critical for us, in addition to the urban audience. To reach out to this segment, we are using radio, television and regional print very effectively," says Gaurav Seth, vice-president and head, marketing, SET Max.

The marketing plan sees the broadcaster targetting approximately 50 cities pan-India. Apart from radio and various retail tie-ups, MSM is promoting the much controversial tournament across 85 TV channels outside its network. Six hundred and fifty hoardings have been put up across India.

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