Indian advertisers to bat for cricket World Cup

MUMBAI - Advertisers in cricket-crazy India are gearing up for the World Cup which starts in the West Indies on Tuesday, raising hopes a Sony Corp. unit with broadcast rights in India could get more than $100 million in revenue.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 9 Mar 2007, 6:20 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:47 PM

The cricket World Cup is considered the mother of all tournaments in India, which has the world’s third-largest cable and satellite subscriber base -- at 68 million homes, up from 42 million in 2003 when the previous tournament was held.

Cricket-themed ad campaigns and promotions of consumer goods, electronics, automobiles and even financial services firms are already on air, with several Bollywood movies also cashing in.

“There is a demand for TV spots after KBC,” said Vivek Couto, executive director at research firm Media Partners Asia, referring to a big-ticket “Kaun Banega Crorepati” show (”Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”) on News Corp.’s Star India.

“Plus, India is likely to reach at least the semi-finals.”

The 51-match series runs till April 28. India, the 1983 winners, reached the final in 2003, bringing life in parts of the country to a standstill. Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, Bermuda and little-fancied Netherlands are in the same group.

Pricey spots

Indian media buyers estimate rates for a 30-second ad spot during the World Cup range from 125,000 rupees to 300,000 rupees ($2,821-$6,772), or up to 30 percent more than previously.

That compares with about 250,000-300,000 rupees on a single episode of KBC, aired four times a week on prime time.

Sony Entertainment Television (SET), a unit of Sony Corp., which has the broadcast rights to the 2007 World Cup, is forecast to rake in about 5 billion rupees ($113 million) in ad revenue in India compared with 3.5 billion rupees the last time.

SET is reported to have paid up to 2.5 billion rupees for the broadcast rights from the International Cricket Council in 2002.

“It is going to be expensive, but there’s every reason for it, given the economic growth and bigger subscriber base,” said Atul Phadnis, chief executive of consultancy Media e2e.

“Plus, this World Cup is not just about advertising. We are going to see a spike in adoption of DTH and set-top box enabled technologies and mobile phone applications,” he said.

However, some advertisers are cautious because of recent patchy performances by the “men in blue” and high TV spot rates.

“We’ve had a lot of cricket already and other expensive properties,” said Manish Porwal, an executive director at media buying firm Starcom MediaVest Group.

India’s advertising market grew 23 percent in 2006 to $3.62 billion, and is forecast to expand 18 percent in 2007, Media Partners Asia said.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., Tata Sky, a venture of the Tata Group and News Corp., and state-owned Prasar Bharti have DTH operations and may see greater demand, as will mobile phone firms that provide cricket alerts and updates.

“Many advertisers and subscribers are just waiting to see how India does,” Porwal said.

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