India’s surprise form in the ICC World Cup – it beat arch-rivals Pakistan and the much-fancied South Africa, assuring a place in the quarter finals – is music to the ears of its broadcaster.
India’s performance was under question in the run-up to the World Cup (WC). But anticipating the demand from advertisers who would want to cash in on India’s winning spree in the tournament, Star India is raising spot rates for the next five India matches (including one quarter final in which India will play) by a minimum of 25 per cent to over 65 per cent. According to sources in the know, Star India is demanding rates ranging from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for a 10-second spot across all its eight channels.
That, of course, is a steep rise from around a maximum of Rs 12 lakh that advertisers had to fork out a month ago for a spot-booking in a package that included all the Indian matches.
The rate was cheaper as India had a poor performance in the Tri series and its tour in Australia. There was no surety India would make it to the quarters then. More advertisers are expected to sign up after the ratings of the much-followed match between India and Pakistan are released on 15 February later this week.
India has four Pool B matches to go (against UAE, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland) and having won against both Pakistan and South Africa, has pretty much cemented its place in the quarter finals.
An official Star spokesperson says, “The advertiser count has already exceeded the count for the 2011 edition as well as IPL 2014 by over 50 per cent. The HD feed is completely sold out. However, some inventory in some feeds for some matches is available and the pricing is likely to increase as the tournament progresses and more spots get sold.” He adds that the queries from advertisers across categories have increased.
According to media planners, STAR is expected to target prominent absentees such as some mobile brands and e-commerce companies such as Snapdeal, YepMe (already a sponsor for the West Indies team), AskMe and Shopclues to advertise on the World Cup. Some of these players are prominent advertisers on IPL and stayed out because of India’s previous performance, odd match timings and competitors locked as on-air or ICC sponsors. Some of these players are prominent advertisers on IPL and stayed out because of India’s previous performance, odd match timings and competitors locked as on-air or ICC sponsors. But now, say planners, the scenario may change with India’s good run.
The lucky advertisers were those that bought spots for all the 49 matches a month ago at a moderate tariff. These advertisers were betting on India, despite its poor track record in the last few months. That was a tough call, says a senior executive of Sistema Shyam, who is raking the benefit of that move. These companies forked out only Rs 4.5 lakh-5.5 lakh for a 10-second spot across Star channels but had to make a commitment of around Rs 20 crore.
Of course, Star India’s fortunes will smile even more if India gets into the semi-finals or the final. It could command a huge premium as the inventory will be limited. Currently, the broadcaster has sold out its inventory on the HD feed (English and Hindi), and the standard definition feeds in Hindi and English are 90 per cent sold-out. The regional feeds are now being picked up and about 80 per cent of the inventory has been sold out for the five matches.
The HD feed was available to sponsors at the beginning of the tournament for Rs 15-20 crore. However, spot rates for the same were in the range of Rs 7 to 12 lakh for the India matches.
Sources close to Star India say that it was able to sell limited inventory during the India-Pakistan match at around Rs 25 lakh for a 10-seconder. In the 2011 WC, where India was the champion, experts say the famous India-Pakistan semi-final held in Mohali was sold at an average of Rs 18 lakh, while spot inventory during the final was hawked for Rs 23-24 lakh.
However, the 2015 rates could beat that of 2011 because the scale has been ramped up with matches being available in not two, but six languages across eight channels of Star.
Basabdutta Chowdhury, CEO, Platinum Media, part of the Madison Group, says, “With India winning its first two games, there is certainly a positive feeling that it could do well in its forthcoming matches. The WC has been attracting eyeballs both on TV as well in stadia. The amount of fans making it to the India matches is also something that advertisers would be tracking closely. A 10-15 per cent escalation in price can be easily factored in for now. But I expect the rates to shoot up even more as India moves forward in the tournament.”
Others say that it is too expensive. Says a senior executive of a well-known FMCG company: “It does not make sense for bottomline-oriented companies to buy spots . It is good for e-commerce companies who only look at topline and won’t mind paying top advertisement rates for being seen during peak TRPs”.
Some advertisers might just wait for the ratings of the India-Pakistan match before taking the final plunge. Says Manas Mishra, president, Lintas Media Group, “Most advertisers, who haven’t invested so far, will wait for the ratings of the India-Pakistan match to be released before taking a call.” And, that can, if Star India insiders are to be believed, could have over 300 million viewers.