Benita Chacko

CWC '23's silver lining: Ad revenue sees over Rs 3000 cr boost

Industry estimates anticipate at least 25% higher ad spends than the 2019 World Cup.

The Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 is estimated to have brought in over Rs 3,000 crore in advertising revenue. As the cricket tournament coincided with the festive season, it is expected to have given the festive period a 15- 25% increase in ad spends.

Ashish Bhasin, founder, The Bhasin Consulting Group, estimates that the overall spends- including TV, digital and on-ground- would be in the region of Rs 5,000 crores and at least half the amount would be for just TV and digital. 

Moreover, the CWC ‘23 could experience at least 25% higher ad spends than the 2019 World Cup.

“We will know the exact ad revenue only later, but overall it's been better than what we had anticipated. This is partly because of India's performance at the tournament. Whenever India does well the interest is much more and therefore the advertising does better,” he says.

R Venkatasubramanian, president - investments, Havas Media India, and managing director, Havas Play, estimates it to have generated ad revenue of around Rs 3,200-3,300 crore on TV and digital platforms combined.

“The World Cup spans diverse audiences, utilising language-specific creatives for instant, widespread brand exposure. With concurrent viewership ranging from 75 to 100 lakh during live matches, the shorter breaks maintain minimal drop, ensuring effective clutter-breaking. Auto industries and handset manufacturers plan significant launches and facelift models during this season, strategically aligning with the festive quarter,” he says.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, another senior industry expert pegs it at Rs 3,200-Rs 3,300 crore.

Compared to the 2019 World Cup, industry estimates say it is an increase of at least 25-30%. Bhasin attributes it to higher rates and a more prominent digital medium. 

“This has been a good quarter for advertising with the festive season and the World Cup. Certainly, stronger players both at the broadcast as well as the agencies are having a great quarter. Weaker players particularly those who are not good at digital would be at a disadvantage,” he says.

Rahul Satoskar, chief investment officer, EssenceMediacom India says since the event coincided with the festive season it led many advertisers from auto to BFSI, fintech, beverages, mobile handsets and retail to be bullish.

“Companies usually earmark 10-20% of their annual ad budgets on impact properties including ICC World Cup and IPL. Some have spent as much as 30% of their annual budgets,” he says.

Moreover, India was hosting the tournament after 12 years. Whether played in India or abroad, ICC World Cups drive incremental ad spends as they can reach multiple TGs and scale up both- reach and frequency, through multiple media (TV, digital) and multiple feeds (Hindi, English & regional). 

“Sales of related categories such as hospitality (restaurants, pubs), snacks & beverages, TV sets and in the recent past, food delivery, they all see ad spends increasing during WC events,” he adds.

The World Cup offered a great opportunity for advertisers. Not only did they get a huge reach by advertising on television and digital broadcast of the matches, but also spent on on-ground advertising. Moreover, brands also created contextual messages around the tournament for other mediums like print, radio and OOH.

Santosh Kumar, COO, INNOCEAN India, an integrated marketing and communication agency for Hyundai and Kia, says, “As the World Cup was in the festive season, by default the spends went up. Compared to the last quarter, the auto category’s spend has risen more than 50%.”

Venkatasubramanian says ad spends this CWC season will be around 7% to 8% above average. “It is expected to witness an ad expenditure growth of about 18% to 22% over last year as we have WC and interesting content lineups during the festive quarter.”

The festive quarter AdEx is generally around Rs 37,000 to Rs 42,000 crores. Around 40-45% of the total ad spends annually take place in the festive period. With Rs 3,200 to Rs 3,300 crore coming through the World Cup, it has contributed to around seven to nine percent of the overall festive quarter AdEx. 

Television vs Digital revenues

Some brands are present only on digital, some are digital-heavy and certain others are TV-skewed.

Satoskar says the skew differs depending on the brand’s goals. “Generally new/emerging brands seeking to scale up awareness and reach quickly find TV to be effective, whereas digital is efficiently bringing in frequency at an affordable price,” he adds.

While the absolute value of digital advertising may not be as high as TV advertising, the growth rate is expected to be higher.

Kumar says the World Cup has boosted the Connected TV (CTV) audience base. “Around 30 million viewers are estimated to be watching it on CTV. There has been a significant boost in digital viewing because of cord-cutting and Disney+ Hotstar’s free streaming offering,” he says.

Media reports suggest that digital ad rates for the 2023 Cricket World Cup were in the range of Rs 230-250 per thousand impressions or cost per mille (CPM), up over 60 percent as compared to Rs 140-150 per thousand impressions during the 2019 edition.

The higher digital rates have ensured that the digital revenues are significantly higher. The industry expert pegs it at around Rs 350 to Rs 380 crores.

Bhasin suggests that the digital revenue has grown around 25-30% since 2019.

“Digital viewership has increased far more than TV viewership. TV viewership has not declined, but digital viewership has increased significantly. The television versus digital split would be around half and half,” he says. 

Venkatasubramanian says being a traditional market, India allocates the highest share of spends to broadcasting at any given moment. 

“Star Sports stands out with robust distribution, capitalising on their early entry into the genre. While each medium serves its unique purpose, broadcast holds sway with its commanding price through FCTs (Free Commercial Time). The skew for national and retail advertisers predominantly leans towards traditional mediums, with television taking the lead, followed by digital, print, OOH, and radio in that order for the upcoming year,” he says.

Boost for other medium

Bhasin says the big spend is for TV, digital, print, outdoor and on-ground promotions.

This year, a notable trend is the growing synergy among various mediums without any cannibalisation. The World Cup offered a great content opportunity for print and radio as they created a lot of properties around the World Cup and built brand sponsorships around the same. 

Kumar says the benefits for other mediums are not very significant. “The contextual messages certainly benefit the other mediums. But it's not very significant.”

TATA Mutual Fund's OOH
TATA Mutual Fund's OOH

OOH advertising has also greatly benefited. Brands like Swiggy Instamart, Royal Challengers and TATA Mutual Fund have released contextual ads around the World Cup. 

Rohit Chopra, COO, Times OOH, says the World Cup taking place in India has provided a unique opportunity for the Indian audience to witness the games live in the stadiums. This has notably heightened the focus on OOH advertising.

“The demand for stadium tickets across Indian cities has been exceptional, with each match offering its own unique allure and narrative. Consequently, a substantial portion of the audience, having common interest, is driving towards the same location hence OOH becomes an ideal medium for brands to build, connect and target cricket lovers,” he says.

This year, brands have adopted distinctive strategies, targeting key transit areas leading to the stadiums. 

“Airports, in particular, have been a pivotal focus for brands, as cricketers, celebrities, and high-profile individuals travel to different match locations. Additionally, brands have strategically selected routes leading to stadium venues to establish relevance and brand recall,” he says.

For instance, during one of the most highly anticipated cricket matches of the year, India vs. Pakistan, which took place in Ahmedabad, numerous brands utilised digital billboards managed by Times OOH. On the day of the match, digital billboards achieved 100% occupancy, indicating the effectiveness of this advertising medium.

Chopra says categories like automobiles, online gaming, fashion and lifestyle are leading the space in OOH during the World Cup.

Image Credit: ICC

Have news to share? Write to us