Prachi Srivastava

About 95 per cent of FIFA WC viewers don't watch football regularly: Prasana Krishnan

Sony Six kick-started the campaign for the football World Cup with a TV promo created by Havas Worldwide. afaqs! caught up with its business head to talk about its promotional initiatives.

The biggest football tournament is just around the corner and Sony Six is proud to be the broadcast partner for it. The Multi Screen Media channel plans to go all out to promote the FIFA World Cup 2014, its first, across platforms.

About 95 per cent of FIFA WC viewers don't watch football regularly: Prasana Krishnan
About 95 per cent of FIFA WC viewers don't watch football regularly: Prasana Krishnan
About 95 per cent of FIFA WC viewers don't watch football regularly: Prasana Krishnan
To start with, Sony Six has launched a television promo, conceptualised and created by Havas Worldwide. The campaign, titled 'Live the Magic', features actor John Abraham, who is seen encouraging viewers to join in the party to catch the "ultimate footballing extravaganza" on Six.

The term 'Live the Magic' was coined to ignite the fervour and the passion for football fanatics, as well as to call out to non-sport enthusiasts to join the party.

According to Prasana Krishnan, business head, Sony Six, from a viewership perspective, FIFA World Cup tends to draw a lot of football viewers, who may not be regular football viewers on a week in and week out basis. "Through the past data, what we have seen in the Indian context is that probably 95 per cent viewers who come to watch FIFA World Cup are not regular football viewers. Viewership on the football World Cup has been as high as 15-20 times the viewership for a typical league match or any other bigger league."

That itself implies that the channel has to cater to a much wider audience base and not just football enthusiasts. "The whole idea of the campaign was to make it more inclusive, to be able to appeal to a larger demographic, larger audience, including the non-traditional football viewers," Krishnan adds.

The TV campaign is shot with the idea of replicating the carnival atmosphere surrounding Brazil, where the tournament will take place this year. Krishnan mentions that the moment one talks about football World Cup in Brazil, the images it brings to people's mind are of celebration, colour, carnival and glamour. "That's the spirit of football we needed to capture in this campaign. Brazilians look at football, like we look at cricket. 'Live the Magic' communicates - be a part of this magic, be a part of the greatest party on earth which will be entertaining, glamorous ,fun, that the sporting event of this nature can promise."

The campaign is directed and filmed by Prashant Issar of Tubelight films.

Vivek Rao, ECD, Havas Media, says "FIFA World Cup is the biggest platform for the likes of various football icons to showcase their mastery. The paper mache masks bring a distinctive visual element that has all the carnival cues about it. By combining the two, we captured the essence of Brazil and the carnival feel that it would bring to the FIFA World Cup. All this is reflected with the energy, passion, music and crowd participation in the film, urging people to watch the magic unfold on Sony Six."

Abraham was thought to be the best fit as a brand ambassador. Being a major football fan, he has a lot of knowledge about the sport. "He exhibits a perfect blend of being an actor in his professional career and an ardent football fan in his personal life. It is his versatility that syncs with our channel's belief of making content inclusive and entertaining for everyone, deeming him the right fit for our campaign," Krishnan adds.

The campaign will soon be extended to other media. The channel has planned on-ground activations across seven cities in the country, including Bombay, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata. Besides, there will be radio spots, print ads, OOH sites, and digital campaigns running to promote the property, along with slots on MSM network channels.

While Krishnan says it's difficult to quantify the marketing spends, sources in the industry estimate the marketing spends at about $2 million.

FIFA World Cup 2010 had delivered a cumulative reach of 65 million. However, the number was on a base which is very different from where we are right now. The channel expects to double this number in the 2014 World Cup.

FIFA World Cup gets a lot of female viewership. According to Krishnan, around 40 per cent of the viewers are female, which is one of the highest in the sports genre.

"Football is clearly picking up in the non-traditional football markets. There is no doubt that markets like Bengal and Kerala have always been traditionally strong markets where football is viewed. It is also picking up in markets like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in the recent years among the urban youth. It's an extremely young demographic that is being more actively viewing/playing football. Many of them are not as passionate about other sports as they are for football," Krishnan opines.

Sony is known to have changed the perspective through which cricket was seen in India, with the launch of the Indian Premiere League. IPL is more of a sports and entertainment property and is known for attracting eyeballs also because of the association of Bollywood celebs with the event and the 'glamour' quotient.

"Sony has pioneered the way cricket was telecast in India. Our endeavour is to bring in a similar flair of entertainment, glamour and viewer engagement to football. The whole programming plan is geared around making it a 'larger-than-life' event," Krishnan says.

The channel has roped in Xolo as one of the sponsors and plans to get another 8-10 sponsors on board.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil will kick off on June 12. The tournament will be in two stages; the group stage will feature 32 nations and will be played from June 12 to June 26. The knockout stage will start from June 28 and conclude with the FIFA World Cup Final match on July 13.

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