Sumita Vaid

MAX to splurge Rs 55-65 crore on World Cup promotion

On February 3, the channel will kick off a new programme Jung World Cup Ki, produced by NDTV and hosted by Rajdeep Sardesai

Sony will leave no stone unturned in the build-up to the World Cup.

The channel plans to spend close to Rs 55-65 crore on the Cricket World Cup 2003 promotion. That apart, every evening starting February 3, MAX will screen Jung World Cup Ki, a new programme produced by NDTV and hosted by Rajdeep Sardesai. A six-episode series, Jung World Cup Ki will be telecast between 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm. On Saturday (February 8), Jung World Cup Ki will stretch for two hours, between 9.00 pm to 11.00 pm, till the start of the live telecast of the World Cup.

Talking about the new programming initiative, Rajat Jain, executive vice-president and business head, MAX, says, "For the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003, MAX is set to bring the best of cricket for every kind of viewer. I am happy that NDTV, respected for its slick, insightful and entertaining programmes, has produced Jung World Cup Ki for us. With noted journalist, news presenter and cricket writer Rajdeep Sardesai anchoring the show, the series will be thought-provoking, analytical and entertaining."

While talks with advertisers for the sponsorship of Jung World Cup Ki are on, the inventory for Extraaa Innings (which will start two hours before the live action begins, continue through the lunch break and for one hour after the match is over), is completely sold out. So is the advertising space for the live packages (such as Master Blaster). The sponsors of Extraaa Innings include Yamaha, Jaguar, Hyundai, Sony and two Lever brands.

Jain informs 75 per cent of the inventory on the World Cup is sold out to advertisers including Reliance Infocomm, Pepsi, Hero Honda, Samsung, and Clinic All Clear and Close Up from Hindustan Lever's stable. For the record, a total of 4,500-5,000 seconds of inventory is used up in a live match of seven-seven and a half hours. However, in the case of Doordarshan, in a live game, about 6,000 seconds of inventory is slotted for advertisements.

While Jain did not share the kind of revenues the network hopes to generate from the event, he did say, "We expect to get around 85 per cent of the total ad spend on television related to the World Cup." (Industry sources, peg the ad spends during the two-month long event in the region of Rs 300-400 crore.) "The rest would go to terrestrial broadcaster Doordarshan and its marketing agents WSG Nimbus," Jain adds.

Besides the revenue, Jain expects the event to generate tremendous brand recall for the MAX brand. The World Cup tournament has paved way for Sony to foray into the markets outside India. These include Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Maldives, Malaysia and Pakistan. While Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives will receive direct telecast of the World Cup from SET India, in the case of Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia, Sony has sub-licensed its telecast rights to Ten Sports (in Pakistan), Singapore Cable Vision (in Singapore) and Astro (in Malaysia). Because of this, the India feed to Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia will have a different set of advertisers.

Will this foray prove viable in the long-term? Jain thinks it will. Sony India has the seven-year cable and satellite telecast rights for ICC World Cup events from 2002 to 2007 for India and the subcontinent. This includes two World Cup tournaments (2003 and 2007), two Champions Trophy and under-19 tournaments, which in itself serves as a big advantage for the channel. "There is a huge interest in cricket and movies in these markets. For instance, the Cricket World Cup is being marketed in Singapore at a retail price of around $55 per household. And movies and sports are the two key drivers for pay channels worldwide," points out Jain.

Back home, Sony expects a substantial jump in the viewership during the World Cup. "Out of 40 million cable and satellite homes, we hope to reach over 35 million households in the course of the series," says an upbeat Jain. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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