Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) is looking to rake in 15-20 per cent higher revenues for season 9 of Vivo IPL 2016 than previous year where it clocked advertising revenues of about Rs 1,000 crore.
“We are looking at 15-20 per cent more revenue than last year,” says Rohit Gupta, President, Network Sales, SPN.
Stacked up advertising inventory
With exactly a month left for the tournament, the official broadcaster has already closed 90% of its advertising inventory for the upcoming season, first time in IPL’s history. “It did surprise us initially because it’s the World Cup year. Usually such levels of inventory are sold near to the start of the game. It indicates that IPL as a tournament has reached a mature stage with not too much of fluctuations, which advertisers like. You know at the beginning what your ROI (Return on Investment) is going to be at the end of the tournament, which helps us. It’s good news for everybody,” explains Gupta.
NP Singh, CEO, SPN said, “We have seen advertisers’ interests continuing to grow in IPL. That gives me a lot of comfort.”
Gupta also shares that the ad slot has been increased by 15 per cent. “That’s how the revenue increases,” he makes his point.
Apart from Vivo’s title sponsorship, SPN has roped in three presenting sponsors Oppo, Vodafone and Amazon while Coco Cola will be the associate sponsor. “We have got Coke which has come back after two years. Our first time sponsors are Tata Sky and FreeCharge,” shares Gupta.
Both Singh and Gupta are hoping to bring in 11 or 12 sponsors closer to the start of IPL.
Last year PepsiCo India terminated its five-year contract with the league (as title sponsor), two years ahead of schedule, soon after the Lodha panel announced a two-year suspension for Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in July for their involvement in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. They will be replaced by two new teams, Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants.
However, one cannot overlook the ratings and popularity the old teams brought during every match. The CSK according to American Appraisal Inc., a consulting firm, has a brand value of $72 million (approx. Rs455 crore at the time). Media reports had revealed that CSK was worth Rs1, 000 crore last April. Rajasthan Royals had seen its valuation increase by 300% to $226.5 million.
Also, both teams have generated some of the highest viewership during the 8 seasons of IPL. According to data from TAM Sports All India CS 4+ from live matches of IPL, CSK has always managed to get viewership, which is above the average IPL match viewership every season, while RR comes close to the average IPL viewership.
So, won’t this step hinder the viewership ratings and popularity of Season 9 of Vivo IPL? Singh feels it’s highly unlikely. On the contrary he strongly believes that viewership will grow significantly from last season. “IPL viewership has continued to grow over the last eight seasons. One big difference this year will be the reporting of the rural viewership for the first time on IPL. This itself will give a strong growth momentum to IPL viewership.”
The official broadcaster is equally upbeat about its new campaign titled ‘Ek India Happywala’, which implores every Indian in every corner of the world to build an empowered India. “We have taken the message a notch ahead from last year which was ‘India ka Tyohaar.’ IPL has come to a stage where it can propagate happiness,” says Neeraj Vyas SVP & Business Head, Sony Max, Sony Max-2 & Sony MIX, adding that the investment on the campaign is 10 per cent higher than last year.
Gupta agrees, “It’s the biggest campaign for us. It’s going to be 360 degree which includes digital, outdoor and radio among others. We expect it to create a lot of digital buzz as the theme is relevant.”
Vyas adds, “There will be more emphasis on digital definitely which has to be spontaneous.”
Growth in HD segment
SPN is witnessing a tremendous growth in HD (high definition) segments. “HD is becoming a positive revenue stream for us across all sporting properties. We have doubled up our rates. Last year we sold ad slots for Rs70,000 to 80,000 for 10 seconds. This year we are selling at 150000 for 10 sec.”