Despite television viewership numbers showing decrease in time spent each season, the Indian Premier League (IPL) continues to earn increased revenues for the broadcaster, SET Max. Beginning with about Rs 300 crore in 2008 (the debut season of IPL), the revenue figures have tripled in six seasons. The channel expects to earn close to Rs 900 crore from the upcoming season.
The channel has also sealed associate sponsor deals with eight brands at the rate of about Rs 29-32 crore, with FCT of 90-120 seconds per sponsor per match. The associate sponsors for IPL Season 6 are Karbonn Tabs, Usha International, Godrej, Panasonic, Havells and Cadbury-Kraft, which will join Samsung Mobiles and Tata Docomo. It must be noted that category exclusivity is a very important aspect of such events, wherein no two players from the same category (of advertisers) can participate in a single event.
Interestingly, SET Max had to let go of a substantial share of advertising revenue (from IPL) in the last season, since it couldn't seal the deals for the left over 20 per cent inventory. Media planners reportedly say that the channel was being too adamant on the rates, last year. However, the ad-rates and their negotiations have smoothened in the sixth edition of the game. "Considering the high entry costs for the advertisers, which is pegged at a minimum of Rs 20-25 crore, the channel's softer and rationale attitude will help it gain that extra penny," says a media planner who is working closely with the tournament.
The ad rates for the tournament have been gradually increasing, from Rs 1.5 lakh per 10-second slot in Season 1 to about Rs 4.5 lakh in Season 5. However, this year, the ad-rates are pegged a little lower than the previous year, at 3.75-4.25 lakh per slot.
"For the rest of the inventory, if someone wants to buy ad-slots during the IPL 6 now, the ad rates are kept at Rs 5 lakh per 10-seconder," he adds.
While the property matures and all big brands rush to leverage the interest, smaller brands are also in the race. Since the ad-rates and the competition for these slots are very high, the relatively smaller brands try to fit in the pre and post programming around the IPL matches.
The flagship IPL show of SET Max, Extra Innings, demands Rs 5-7 crore for an associate sponsor and about Rs 10 crore for the title sponsor. Advertising on the show is another way of making the brand's presence felt on the matured event.
Viewership trends of IPL, however, do not portray a rosy picture. For the record, IPL Season 1 had garnered an average TVR of 5.39, while IPL 2011 registered an average of 3.91 TVRs. Last year, the tourney got close to 3.27 TVRs.
Media planners though are quite positive about IPL's performance this year, and explain that the back-to-back series in the past two months have whetted viewers' appetite for more cricket. Gupta of MSM adds that the game is in a far better position compared to Seasons 3 and 4.