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T20 cricket to rake in big moolah in first half of 2016

MUMBAI: The first half of 2016 will be dominated by T20 cricket. This covers the three-match India vs Sri Lanka series, the Asia Cup, The Twenty20 World Cup and the ninth edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Broadcasters could earn a maximum of Rs 1800 crore (Rs 18 billion) from these events put together, according to industry estimates.

The IPL will get the lion’s share, followed by the T20 World Cup. Sony is expecting to get a 20 per cent rise in advertising revenue from the IPL and could land up in the region of Rs 1100 crore (Rs 11 billion), according to industry estimates. The T20 World Cup will be the other major revenue driver.

Rohit Gupta

Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India president Rohit Gupta noted that T20 cricket is the favour of the season. “The India vs Australia ODI series saw 3,000 secondages a match according to BARC adex. However, the T20 series was a sellout. This has to do with the fact that people don’t have eight hours to spend in a day. What you saw was clients saving money by not spending on the India vs Australia ODI series so that they could spend on T20 cricket. The ODI format clearly is losing its sheen with ratings slipping over the past four years among males 15+.”

Gupta added that the IPL and the World Cup will get the bulk of money. “T20 cricket offers high viewership. The Asia Cup and India vs Sri Lanka series could be affected in terms of advertiser interest. There is only so much money in the market.”

He conceded, however, that the Masters Champions League might not get much revenue. “But this is not a high-value property for us. It is at an experimental stage.”

Jai LalaGroupM head of trading and partnerships Jai Lala pointed out that T20 cricket is spread across two quarters. Therefore, clients are picking and choosing depending on their plans like the timing of new brand launches. “Different brands and different clients will use it. There is no issue of saturation as long as performance is good. India is a winning-crazy country, not a cricket-crazy country. Even if there is less cricket, viewership will fall if India does not fare well.”

He added that the World Cup and the IPL are the premiere properties. Nonetheless, outlays for some events might be a challenge. He noted that sports broadcasters give the option of buying tournaments together or separately.

VenkatasubramanianLintas Media Group senior VP R Venkatasubramanian feels that for a brand like Oppo Mobile, which is present on both the IPL and on the World Cup, there might be no need to use other marketing vehicles on television in this period. “If you use T20 cricket, it will take care of everything. For cricket the target is males 15–44. The only other option for this are the English news channels, but their reach is not as much.

“But most companies are picking and choosing either the IPL or the World Cup. That is because outlays are sizeable. The Asia Cup will be interesting as this event is being played for the first time in the T20 format. Clients who have smaller budgets might opt for the Asia Cup.”

Venkatasubramanian noted that since Amazon sees itself as the leader in its category, it wanted to be associated with the number one television property in the country, which is why it chose the IPL. “For me the only viewership concern is for the Asia Cup as school exams will be going on. Otherwise, I don’t see an issue. All the tournaments have good timings.”

Ashish BhasinDentsu Aegis CEO Ashish Bhasin does not feel that a saturation point will be reached although there is one T20 event after another. “There are enough clients to go around. The key is that India should perform well in the events. If India does not perform well, then an event might struggle for advertising,” he said.

Bhasin, however, does not think that ad rates will grow steeply compared to last year. Broadcasters, though, could grow revenue through other means like having an extra co-presenting sponsor or having more secondages. “There will be slicing and dicing in terms of strategy. I don’t think that the market can take more growth in ad rates,” he said.