The ICC World Cup 2007 finals saw Australia battling it out with Sri Lanka and the rains making the game even tougher. The game began at 10.30 pm and was only a 38-over match. TAM Media Research shows that in terms of ratings, non-India matches have thrown some good numbers. Whether or not ICC World Cup 2007 has roved to be cost effective is debatable.
However, industry professionals are clear that the numbers seen in non-India matches does not compensate for the loss that India’s early exit imposed on the series. They are also clear that as far as cricket as a property is concerned, the moment team India has played two good matches, the property will become as strong in media plans as it is today. The big change perhaps comes in some advertisers showing some caution, but industry experts don’t think that this is a big number just yet.
TAM Media Research shows that for the C&S 4+ in the all-India market, the final match that was telecast on both MAX and SAB has thrown a TRP of 3.47. On SAB, the numbers are 1.68. MAX made some numbers in the semi-finals too, with Sri Lank versus New Zealand delivering a 1.38, and South Africa versus Australia delivering a 1.46.
The Super Eight started with some promise when the Australia versus West Indies match played on March 27 delivered a 2.46. However, following this, all matches were in the 1 plus vicinity and only MAX managed to get them. Some of these matches were Sri Lanka versus South Africa, West Indies versus New Zealand, Sri Lanka versus England, England versus Australia, South Africa versus West Indies — almost all Sri Lanka and Australia matches managed to deliver some numbers for the channel. The other teams that scored are England, South Africa and New Zealand.
It may be recalled that some of the best numbers that the series has seen were when India played against Bangladesh, Bermuda and Sri Lanka, and gave the channel ratings as high as 5 and 6 plus.
Industry experts at that time stated that ratings as high as 5 and 6 were very encouraging from the advertisers’ point of view. However, are the Super Eight, Semi-Finals and Final ratings good numbers?
Amol Dighe, Trading Services Director, MindShare Fulcrum, replied, “I think MAX has managed some really good numbers for non-India matches. Had India been in the series, the game would have been completely different and these numbers don’t compensate that.”
Divya Radhakrishnan, Senior Vice President, TME, added, “The finals, despite all the rains problems and a short match, has given some good numbers. However, cricket is not a property where one can be happy with 1 plus TRP. But these are non-India matches, and so somewhere they are in line with the revised expectations after India got out of the series.”
Manoj Malkani, Buying Head, Carat Media, said, “A rating of 3 plus in the overall scenario is good. The big question, however, is whether this number is justified, given the monies that the channel was asking for this property, and I don’t think it is.”
“Had India gone ahead even in the Super Eight, the case would have been very different. The team’s performance has led to quite a loss for advertisers on this series,” added Malkani.
The Broad Outcome
One aspect that the experts agree on is that MAX has delivered good numbers. “I don’t think that even a sports channel manages to get the numbers that MAX has managed,” said Dighe.
Another aspect is that in regards to this property, everything depends on team India’s performance. “The Bangladesh series is coming up and then the team is going to England. All they need is one good match and people tune back in on the game,” said Malkani.
Radhakrishnan added, “The team delivers and people watch — it is as simple as that.”
However, the new future will see a lull in cricket as a property. Dighe said, “There is no doubt in that. It would be a temporary lull in ratings but it definitely would be there.”
Malkani observed, “I think at least some brand managers are going to be cautious now of where they put the money and how much they put. There is a talk of performance-based rates and I do see things changing a bit.”
And as we have been writing, cricket as a property for a viable investment, is a long-lived debate.