That the World Cup 2003 is an eagerly awaited television event is a given. The tube will undoubtedly be at the centre of big-time activity bringing normal life to a standstill, implying that in terms of viewership as well as sales of TV sets, there in no beating the period of February-March 2003. Even as TV manufacturers and channels brace themselves for this upward growth, players in the print segment have been working overtime to cash in on the fever as well.
Says a sales executive in a top Hindi daily, "Even if people are watching the World Cup on TV, they still want more. The reason being that they just haven't had enough of cricket. Which is why people not only watch the World Cup but also read about it in the papers."
This, coupled with the lure of big bucks, has pushed almost all publications - magazine as well as newspaper owners - into launching initiatives and innovations around the World Cup. What's more, many of these packages are multi-media in nature especially in the case of bigger publication groups, inclusive of print and outdoor as well as ground activities, combining radio and cable TV at times.
Says a Mumbai-based media planner, "Television is an expensive medium where a handful of advertisers will out-shout others, ensuring that their visibility is the highest. Naturally the ones who feel restricted will look out for other options, implying an opportunity for the print medium. Again, since print is static, the idea is to go interactive and provide a stadium experience to ensure that the advertiser stands out in the clutter. In my opinion, this single-point agenda has been crucial for print players to opt for multi-media packages as opposed to advertising in the print product only."
Some instances of print players going interactiveÖ Mid Day, the Mumbai-based afternoon tabloid, has a special 12-page supplement titled Mid Day: Out of Africa comprising pre- and post-match reviews, statistics, trivia, news, expert comments, and of course, interesting photographs from the venue of action. To provide more bang for the buck, the group has other platforms such as the Internet, radio and outdoor also available for the high-budget spender.
Not to be left behind, No 1 English daily Times of India (ToI) is rumoured to be unleashing a 16-page supplement with on-ground activities thrown in for good measure. Platforms such as Radio Mirchi and indiatimes.com will have their ball-by-ball accounts of the World Cup to feed the insatiable need of the viewer/listener.
India Today has released a special book titled World Cup 2003 besides using its Delhi-based tabloid Today as the primary source of day-to-day coverage with four-pages devoted for the event. Exclusive World Cup packages from the group ensure a presence for advertisers in the flagship brand India Today, tabloid Today as well as TV channel Aaj Tak. The group will also screen the crucial India-Pakistan match on March 1 at a Delhi theatre leaving the field open for advertisers to associate with the event.
Rival Outlook also has a collector's special out in the market titled Outlook World Cup 2003. With advertisers such as Samsung, Philips, Intel, Bata, BPCL and Reliance Infocomm among others, this 128-page book, priced at Rs 30 has an interesting cover story revolving around India's 10 greatest one-day wins. "With the World Cup round the corner and cricket fever at its peak, readers demand a property like this," avers Indranil Roy, general manager - Outlook, Mumbai. "The revenue proposition is definitely an important aspect but reader needs cannot be ignored," he adds.
It is this association with the event coupled with an eye on generating maximum income, which seems to be driving print players to tap hitherto untapped areas in the run-up to the World Cup. Dainik Jagran, for instance, flagged off a poster campaign in the form of a bat across 10 cities in north India with eager fans penning best wishes for the Indian cricket team. This comes in addition to a combo-package comprising print, outdoor and on-ground events devised to woo advertisers. "The poster campaign is not a revenue-generation exercise," avers Alok Sanwal, general manager - brand development, Dainik Jagran. "It is in reality a brand-building activity meant to express our solidarity with the Indian cricket team," he adds.
Analysts estimate that the incremental revenue to the print medium (that is over and above the monthly print spend, which is around Rs 300 to Rs 350 crore for all publications put together) will be in the region of Rs 50 to Rs 60 crore for the two months of February and March. This revenue is likely to be generated from the sports pages, namely the final and penultimate pages. "In a 24-page issue, even page No 22 becomes the sports page during a mega event such as the World Cup. Considering that there is no serious advertising in these pages all year round, it is an exciting proposition for print players," states a media observer based in Mumbai.
However, a number of publications, especially the second-line dailies seem skeptical of getting a share of this incremental revenue during the World Cup. The reason? TV comprises the bulk of an advertiser's spend and if at all advertisers select a print product, they will in all probability settle for the lead publications. "Reach does count," reiterates a marketing executive from a top media firm.
Analysts aver, ToI will, in all probability, walk away with the lion's share of the revenue, followed by Hindustan Times, The Hindu and The Telegraph. In the Hindi belt, Jagran and Bhaskar are set to gain from the coming World Cup. ¬© 2003 agencyfaqs!