Much like the national cricket team, Star India’s World Cup performance doesn’t seem to have reached the same level that it did in the 2011 outing. Overall viewership percentage, reach and time spent are lower than four years ago. As a result, Star has missed its World Cup target, much like the Indian team, which went down to Australia in the semi-final. Sure, India did better than initially expected to win six games on the trot but that wasn’t enough in the end.
According to multiple industry sources, Star India had an internal revenue target of Rs 850 crore from advertising sales during the World Cup but several media agencies state that it could barely earn Rs 600 crore. The time spent has declined by 19%.
Apart from the team not going the distance, they also attributed the shortfall to matches being played in Australia and New Zealand and some very early starts that led to lower ratings. Had India made it to the final, close to Rs 75 crore would have been added to Star’s revenue figures, said media planners.
Star had about 6,000 seconds in each of the World Cup matches this year to sell to advertisers.
According to AdEx, which provides an estimate of the total value of advertising on television, print and radio, Star sold an average of 4,500 seconds per India match. In the 40 non-India matches, it sold close to 2,600 seconds per match. According to industry sources, Star charged an average rate of around Rs 5 lakh per 10 seconds for India matches and Rs 1.5-1.75 lakh per 10 seconds for non-India matches.
It did manage to sell some spots during marquee India games at very high rates — Rs 25 lakh per 10 seconds for the India-Pakistan match and Rs 15 lakh per 10 seconds for the semi-final against Australia.
“Because of the timings, people knew ratings would be lower than before when the tournament was played in India,” said a media planner, who didn’t want to be named. “This World Cup was mostly about the six India games that did well in terms of ratings and viewership.”
The India-Australia match garnered the most impressive rating among all India matches at 10.4 while the India-Pakistan clash got a rating of 9.3. According to Star, 305 million people (TAM Panel CS4+ extrapolated to the universe using a standard conversion factor) watched the India-Australia semi-final match compared with the 288 million who watched the India-Pakistan one. According to Star, a total of 635 million people watched the World Cup this year.
The last World Cup in 2011 was held in India and matches were played at local prime time. That led to much higher ratings during India as well as non-India matches and Star is reported to have made upwards of Rs 800 crore from ad sales in that edition. While the average rating for the 2011 World Cup was 3.3, this year it was 1.8. For the India matches, ratings were higher in both years — 13.05 in 2011 versus 6.9 this year.
The semi-final this year between India and Australia got the highest rating among all India matches at 10.4 but that pales in comparison with the India-Pakistan semi-final in 2011 — 21.2. The final in 2011 between India and Sri Lanka, which India won, got a rating of 23.6. Nevertheless, Star has done well to generate the revenue it has, said the head of an agency, not wanting to be named. “Getting close to Rs 600 crore from ad sales in this World Cup considering the constraints is good,” the person said.
Star opened up more opportunities for smaller advertisers this year by selling spots on regional feeds — Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali, apart from Hindi and English. Media planners said this and before-and-after match programming worked well for Star. Hindi and regional feeds contributed 77% of the overall viewership, according to Star India. In absolute numbers, total viewers rose 14% to 205 million from 179.9 million in 2011. But considering that the total television viewing universe in India has become bigger in the past four years, the World Cup was seen by around 65% compared with 84% in 2011.
Star said it got 50% more advertisers this World Cup compared with the previous edition. This included brands such as Maruti, Airtel, Marico, Raymond and Nestle, among others, that signed up at the beginning of the tournament and others such as Amazon, Snapdeal, Dell, Panasonic, Toyota, Voltas and OLX that came in for the semi-finals and finals. Digital too saw high traction during the World Cup with a cumulative viewership of around 87 million on Starsports. com and its new Hotstar app through the tournament. The India-Pakistan match got over 25 million views on Star’s digital platforms while the India-Australia semi-final got 50 million views, according to the broadcaster.
Innovations such as feeds in regional languages, the first global telecast of cricket in 4K and drone cameras above the stadiums came at a cost. According to people aware of this, the production costs rose to Rs 170 crore from Rs 65 crore in 2011 because of the innovations and the matches being played in Australia and New Zealand, further denting the margins.
Source : ET