After the World Cup debacle early this year, India's national passion did go through a slump. Advertiser interest dampened: spot rates for the India Bangladesh series and Afro-Asia series that followed, hovered between Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000 for a 10 second spot.
After a modest revival through the Future Cup series that India clinched, however, the good times seem to be returning with the current Twenty20 World Cup series, telecast on Star Cricket and ESPN channels. Reliable media sources say that a 10-second spot for an India match in the series commands Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh, while rates for the other matches are in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh per spot.
A shorter format of the game, with 20 overs instead of the 50-over one-day format, Twenty20 is getting a good response. This time though, advertisers have made sure there is a clause that ensures protection of their interests.
Manish Porwal, managing director, Starcom India, West and South, says, "Large advertisers have been allowed to pick spots on an a-la-carte basis, which is different from earlier transactions." SET network sold spots for World Cup matches through a package of all 51 matches, Super 8 package, India matches package and semi-finals and finals
Rohit Gupta, president of SET India, which had the World Cup telecast rights, maintains, "Selling packages is a wise thing to do. The rights holder has to sell the non-India and other matches as well. Premium on spot buys for popular matches cannot compensate enough for reduced revenues from other matches."
However, there is wide agreement that the new format has brought back the youth audience. No wonder Pepsi is showing its MyCan campaign on the Twenty20 broadcast, while Reliance Mobile is wooing young consumers through the "Chote match – bade sapne" campaign. Hero Honda and Nokia are other advertisers promoting their products through the tournament.
Gupta talks of other benefits of the format—viewership consistency, fewer spots and hence less investments and more visibility. The fact that India is still playing keeps the visibility for the advertisers relevant. India has to win against both, England and South Africa, to qualify for the next stage.
Data from a Map shows that the India matches in the World Cup had average ratings of 5.88 per cent (India-Bangladesh), 5.51 per cent (India-Bermuda) and 7.13 (India-Sri Lanka), during the match time periods. The Twenty20 India-Pakistan match fetched a three per cent average rating from across India's four-years-plus C&S viewership.
New format, first round, entertaining…the numbers are reasonable.