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2014 will be strong sports revenue year for Multi Screen Media

MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media (MSM) could see a spurt in its ad revenue, thanks to the presence of two marquee properties—the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the soccer World Cup—on its network.

MSM president networks sales, licensing and telephony Rohit Gupta says that 2014 will be a strong year in terms of the sports genre for MSM. The network is eyeing Rs 9 billion from IPL and Rs 1.5 billion from the FIFA World Cup.

“We expect to make Rs 1.5 billion from the Football World Cup. We have already had some discussions with advertisers and the feedback has been very encouraging. This event has grown tremendously each time it has taken place,” Gupta tells TelevisionPost.com.

IPL will continue to be the revenue leader for MSM. “From the IPL, we expect to make the same as last year—Rs 9 billion. The number of matches has gone down by 20 per cent but we have upped our rates by that extent as well,” he adds.

MSM is targeting 12 sponsors for IPL while it is looking at eight sponsors for the FIFA World Cup.

Gupta expects ad revenue for sports broadcasting to grow by around 20 per cent primarily due to the presence of big properties like the IPL, FIFA World Cup and ICC World Twenty20.

While conceding that the economic slowdown could put some pressure on sports broadcasters, Gupta asserts that big properties will buck the trend.

“The marquee events will not have an issue getting traction. The smaller events, though, could struggle to make money with all the big properties around and taking place back to back,” he avers.

He also concedes that the on-going India versus New Zealand series has not done well with advertisers.

“We have hardly made anything but then we did not pay much either. It was a distress sale that was done in terms of the rights. The timing was an issue even as India kept on losing matches. The advertisers who would have advertised midway through the series have not done so,” Gupta explains.

Maxus Client Leader Jigar Rambhia feels that the IPL will earn less this year with the reduction in the number of matches. At the same time, the FIFA World Cup could earn more compared to the 2010 edition on account of inflation and more viewer interest.

The 2010 edition is estimated to have made around Rs 1.2 billion for ESPN Star Sports (ESS).

According to a senior executive of a leading media buying agency, it will be a big challenge for MSM to earn Rs 9 billion from the IPL.

“While the IPL is a big property and there is a loyal advertiser base that keeps returning to the property year after year, the challenge for MSM is the non-loyal advertisers. Therefore, it will be a big challenge for the broadcaster to earn Rs 9 billion from the property,” the executive said on condition of anonymity.

Another challenge for MSM is the fact that consumer durables as a category is not advertising very heavily. “The challenge for MSM will be to compensate for consumer durables with some other category like telecom or beverages,” he added.