By Lalatendu Mishra
Mumbai: IT IS up to the Indian Premier League (IPL) management and the nine franchises to change the negative perception that cricket has developed of late due to the disastrous performance of the Indian team in international matches.
The lower viewership recorded in IPL4 and the current negative sentiment among cricket lovers has prompted many advertisers to have their pound of flash by negotiating tougher deals with broadcaster SET MAX and the IPL franchises.
General Entertainment Channels (GECs), whose prime-time programmes should be hit by a successful IPL, are not concerned.
However, Star Plus has postponed the launch of a programme featuring Aamir Khan, so as to not clash with the IPL.
“This year, we don’t think they (IPL) could cross a rating of 3,” said an official from a GEC. The IPL had a rating of 3.9 last season.
Doubts have been raised whether SET MAX would make its expected money or whether the broadcaster would be forced to undersell air time. But Rohit Gupta, president of Sony Entertainment Television, said: “Everything is ready. We have closed a lot of deals. More clients are coming in. It is too early to say about the revenue projection."
"Our aim is to grow a bit.” Some analysts said that SET MAX will have to sell spots in initial matches at a 20 per cent discount to attract advertisers. “Ad rates are based on the previous year’s performance."
"SET MAX charged 20 per cent premium in IPL4 based on IPL3’ s TRP. Now that IPL4 had a lower TRP, it will have to give a discount initially in IPL5,” said an advertising expert.
However, media buying agencies are hopeful that the momentum would pick up as the tournament goes on. “Cricket has worked well before. IPL is all about winning. I don’t think there would be any collateral damage. But it will be tough this time. The viewership has dropped and now the mood is low. People are interested in investing but they will not put money blindly. It will be no more impulsive,” said Mona Jain, CEO of Vivaki Exchange, a large media buying firm.
Advertising stalwart Piyush Pandey agreed with Jain. “The sentiment changes very fast. The apprehension that IPL5 would be affected is unfounded. Here the Indian team is not playing. IPL is all about exciting atmosphere. I have seen a lot of excitement among advertisers,” the chairman of O&M India said.
Yannick Colaco, COO of Nimbus Sports, agreed: “If the immediate performance of Team India determines the fate of IPL, then why did the previous IPL witness a drop in TRP despite India’s World Cup win?”
Rakesh Singh, joint president, marketing of Chennai Super Kings owner India Cements, is optimistic. “By the time IPL5 comes, the whole thing (defeats) will be forgotten. All our slots are sold, and we don’t sell cheap. The response is overwhelming,” he said.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2012. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
By Lalatendu Mishra