Sapna Nair

Neo Sports: From number one in launch week to number three

Neo Sports, the sports channel from Nimbus Communications, was the number one sports channel in the week of its launch, beating channels such as Ten Sports, Zee Sports and ESPN, but it has been unable to hold on at the peak

Neo Sports, the sports channel from Nimbus Communications, was launched on October 1, and in the week of its launch (Week 40), the channel attained numero uno position in its genre.

As per TAM Media Research, (C&S 15+, males, six metros), Neo Sports garnered the maximum share among sports channels – 56 per cent channel share. This was followed by Ten Sports with 22 per cent relative channel share and ESPN and STAR Sports with 10 per cent and 8 per cent channel share, respectively. The other channels in the genre, Zee Sports and DD Sports, managed a channel share of 2 per cent each.

But Neo Sports wasn’t able to celebrate its success for too long, for in the subsequent week (Week 41), it slipped to number three position, behind Ten Sports and STAR Sports. In Week 41, Ten Sports emerged as the market leader with 54 per cent channel share, followed by STAR Sports with a relative channel share of 18 per cent. Neo Sports managed an 11 per cent channel share, followed closely by STAR Sports with 10 per cent channel share. Zee Sports and DD Sports maintained their respective positions with 6 per cent and 1 per cent channel share, respectively.

So, what brought about this fluctuation in viewership among the sports channels?

Praveen Tripathi, CEO, Media Direction, says that sports channels are driven totally by a particular game or event. And cricket scores highest among all sporting events. In its launch week, Neo Sports aired the Challenger Series for the NKP Salve Trophy (October 1-4) and a few archival matches dating back to 2005 and 2006, such as a India-Sri Lanka match (Oct 4-7).

Other media analysts such as Kajal Malik, regional director, OMS, say the success of Neo Sports can be attributed to its distribution strength. “Neo Sports is distributed by STAR Network, the reach of which is widespread. This would have ensured a good amount of trial viewing for the channel since it is available on the prime band,” says Malik.

This privilege is not often enjoyed by new channels. Due to poor distribution and placement, they fail to get such high initial sampling and viewership as Neo Sports did.

However, despite its herculean achievement, Neo Sports hasn’t managed to sustain its position. So, what went wrong in the subsequent week?

Tripathi of Media Direction says, “The term ‘channel personality’ is not prominent among sports channels as it is among movie channels. Wherever the best events or matches are showcased, the viewers will go there.”

Tripathi excludes SET Max from this club by saying that it airs segments (‘Extra Innings’, for example) that enhance its image and attract non-hardcore cricket viewers.

Tripathi suspects that when this phenomenon occurred, all the other sports channels were telecasting less popular sports such as golf or tennis, which is why Neo Sports got so many viewers.

Amin Lakani, director, CTG-Group M, agrees with Tripathi that sports channels’ viewership is driven by specific events. In his opinion, even the hype surrounding an event plays a major role. For instance, The Challenger Series got a lot of media coverage, which could be a reason for the good response Neo Sports enjoyed.

It will be interesting to see whether Neo Sports will remain a one week wonder or strike back with more surprises. One thing is sure though – there is room for more players in sports television in India

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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