With the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany just three days away, websites and mobile phone platforms have beefed up their football content to attract viewers and advertisers. For websites, it is an opportunity to attract sports-crazy Indians, and advertisers simply cannot miss the opportunity to get their message across. On larger portals, the incremental jump in advertising revenues is estimated to be anywhere between 8 per cent and 15 per cent.
Internet use in India has grown exponentially since 2002, when the last World Cup tournament was held – from about eight million then to 38.5 million today. Consumption of sports infotainment online, too, has grown significantly in the last four years in India.
Pearl Uppal, Director (Sales) at Yahoo! India, is pretty upbeat about the prospects for the event. “We see high potential in online advertising for the soccer world cup. Yahoo! is hosting the official site of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Further, we expect an estimated 32 million unique users to consume over four billion pages of the 2006 official FIFA World Cup site. We see high engagement of our users with Yahoo! India Sports,” she asserted.
As an official FIFA world cup partner, Yahoo! is offering opportunities to advertisers to immerse the brand within an engaged content experience and to run innovative promotions on their online and mobile platforms.
Aravindra Kanwal, Chief Media Revenue Officer at Rediff.com India Ltd, said, “Traffic will be strong and we should see a 50-100 per cent spike for some matches.” Rediff.com, besides having the match schedules online, also has trivia related to the World Cup tournaments, a countdown to the beginning of the activity, full coverage of past tournaments, an online football store to enable users to purchase their favourite football memorabilia. There is also a FIFA World Cup 2006 Gaming Zone, which allows users to participate in games to test their memory and concentration.
“Websites are pulling out all stops to attract viewers and advertisers. At Rediff.com, editorial teams are working on different formats and plan to offer advertisers opportunities to integrate mobile and Internet mediums with print, TV and radio. HT plans to create more than 100 pages of microsites promoted across the site,” said Salil Kumar of HT Media, Head Sales & Alliances, HT Media Ltd.
Ajay Nambiar, Head of Consumer Channels, Sify.com, said, “Corporates are showing a very high degree of interest in the World Cup focused websites, knowing full well that the World Cup has captured the imagination of the youth in particular. Maruti Swift is one of the sponsors on Sify. Several other corporates are talking to us and Sify’s special section will see multiple advertisers and sponsors targeting football fans.”
The Sify World Cup special on the website features videos of venues, teams, players, past tournaments and preparations, apart from news reports and features, off-beat stories, contests, best of blogs, interactives, video-based quizzes, etc.
During the Cup, live tickers, news reports, features, image galleries, audio commentary and videos will capture the excitement of the action on the field.
The 2006 World Cup also represents an opportunity to promote 3G. However, according to a study, ‘World Cup 2006: Scoring with mobile content and services’, published by research company Visiongain, it will be established content, such as text-based services, that will generate the most significant revenue.
The study estimated that the month long tournament would generate $6.35 billion in revenue, with text-based services and downloads, such as ringtones and logos, being the most significant. Gaming will also contribute to profits earned by World Cup related content.
The industry will also look to generate revenue through interactive video messaging, video clips and even blogging services. The key revenue generators will be tried and tested text services, ringtones and logos. The content of the World Cup lends itself well to highlights clips, which operators have been busy purchasing the rights for, as well as mobile gambling.