The `feel good' factor emanating out of the Indo-Pak series does not seem to have rubbed off on the colour television (CTV) industry. Against a target of one million units set for March this year, sales fell short by 18 per cent and stood at 8.2 lakh sets.
According to the Consumer Electronics & TV Manufacturers Association (CETMA), for the first quarter of the current year (January-March 2004), sales of CTVs stood at 2.25 million units.
Investments on the series by major consumer electronic companies are said to have exceeded Rs 150 crore across categories for brand promotions. However, they don't seem to have got a bang for their bucks. And even as the industry is trying to fathom the failure, players are putting up a brave face. They were unanimous in claiming that the first quarter of 2004 would be same as the first three months of the previous year.
The individual players claim to have achieved their targets, but industry insiders reveal that the uncertainty surrounding the telecast of the series could be one of the main reasons for the sales not picking up.
"The dispute between Doordarshan and Ten Sports on the issue of simulcast of matches even after the start of the series seems to have prevented households from acquiring new television sets. Also, with the matches eventually being aired on both the channels, several households may not have upgraded from black-and-white television sets to CTVs," said industry analysts.
"The Indo-Pak Series was an additional opportunity, but did not do much for sales of CTVs. The timing was not right as the Board exams kept the youngsters away from watching their favourite sport, viewership was affected and some consumers would have postponed the decision to invest in CTV when the `key' audience (read youngsters) were busy with exams. The series happening a little earlier or later would have translated in roaring business for the industry," said Mr Ravi Shankar, Senior Vice-President, Stakeholder Management Division, TNS India.
According to Mr Chandramani Singh, National Head - Consumer Electronics, LG Electronics India (Pvt) Ltd. (LGEIL), "The target for March was 1.4 lakh units and we have sold two lakh CTVs sets." Samsung India Electronics too, echoes a similar trend. Mr Ravinder Zutshi, Director-Sales, Samsung India, said that the growth during Samsung Cup has been around 20 per cent. He also expects sales in April to be better than March.
The shortfall in CTV sales is in contrast to the rich rewards that advertisers and television channels reaped during the series. The series attracted advertising revenues of over Rs 150 crore and the viewership figures surpassed the popular `saas-bahu' soaps.