Better innings for IPL 5?

03 Feb,2012


By Rishi Vora


At a time when India’s economy is slowing down and the advertising-media industry is facing a bit of a setback, the Indian Premier League readies itself for a mega show which, experts believe, will come as a relief to all stakeholders – the broadcaster (Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd in this case), advertisers, sponsors and of course, the franchise owners and the otherwise cash-rich BCCI.


There is a great deal at stake as far as the actual delivery of the event is concerned, with crores of rupees spent by brands on sponsorships and advertising, and the question doing the rounds within the media fraternity is whether IPL season 5 will deliver well on the ratings front.


As Sundeep Nagpal, Director, Stratagem Media, said, “All else notwithstanding, we could do well to consider that Indians are emotional about IPL. It’s almost like it’s a contest for the Indians, by the Indians, even if it’s not of Indians only. So this is good enough to get over any overdose. Secondly, memories of test cricket losses, or Sachin not getting his 100th ton, no matter how sordid, would by then be two months old and have faded by the time the IPL gets under way. Besides that, clever marketing has always propped up the IPL. And if some of our heroes click during the tournament, that would bolster the popularity ratings even further, because let’s not forget, success tastes even sweeter after failure.”


The general sense is that even if it doesn’t match the success of the first two seasons, the event will put up a better showing than last year, where it delivered an average rating of 3.91 across 74 matches, the lowest ever in four years.


The primary reason cited by media planners and observers was that the ICC World Cup and India’s win that contributed to the slump in IPL viewership. It may be recalled that a few advertisers had stayed away from the event last year, having chosen to advertise with the World Cup which had preceded the IPL.


But this year, it’s going to be very different, says Rohit Gupta, President, MSM: “IPL is the single biggest property. So I don’t see any reason for it to not deliver as per expectations. The cricket fatigue or India not doing well does not impact IPL in a big way. It’s a different format altogether. Viewers look forward to IPL every year, for it promises live entertainment.”


Punitha Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media, says, “India’s recent losses and a slowdown in ad spends, especially in the non FMCG segment will impact the advertiser’s sentiment on IPL. However, given the prime time of IPL for over six weeks day after day, we expect the viewership to be sustained.”


Divya Gupta, CEO, Dentsu Media, is even more upbeat: “IPL viewership will not be affected, at all. Consider this – the IPL game and format is completely different. Team performance and outcome can change with every game. And IPL is beyond just India Team performance. It is live entertainment, at its best!”


MSM will be heavily promoting the event, which is scheduled to begin on April 4. Mr Gupta added, “We have marginally increased the ad rates (about 10 per cent). We hope to sell out our inventory well before the tournament begins.”


Though Mr Gupta refused to divulge names of advertisers, industry sources have said that TV screens will be buzzing mainly with players from the telecom sector. Brands like Vodafone, Idea, Tata Photon and Pepsi have agreed to be a part of IPL this year.


Rema Harish, Co-Founder, DoMore Communications, says, “Advertisers may lose out a bit as far as ROI is concerned because cricket seems to have lost its charm among fans in India. There is a sense of fatigue and also the fact that the Indian team has not performed well in the recent past. While advertisers are aware of the risk, they’re betting on IPL because it is the only event in that size, promising greater reach and visibility.”


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