OOH players usually are not too excited about the IPL as most advertisers prefer to spend more on TV. However, this year’s venue shift to Sharjah at the start of the tournament made it an even harder pill to swallow for most OOH agencies.
Yogesh Lakhani, CMD, Bright Outdoors noted, “The spends on outdoor by individual teams has been much less this year, though spending by the broadcaster (MSM) did go up.” Lakhani admitted that the situation improved a bit after the IPL returned to India. Bright Outdoors was the official partner with Shahrukh Khan’s Kolkata Knightriders last season, though the partnership wasn’t repeated this year.
The OOH players we spoke to said that most advertisers prefer to go through the television route since it provides them with maximum eyeballs. With almost a third of the competition (20 matches) being held outside India, it further made OOH even less attractive to advertisers this year. “When you want to advertise around a tournament, you plan your spends way earlier. So, with the venue change, a lot of advertisers shifted their spends to TV,” explained Sunder Hemrajani, MD, Times OOH Media.
But did this situation change once the matches were relocated to Indian venues in May? Players are divided on this issue, but the majority sentiment seems to be that it did not have that big an impact on the low spends. Atul Srivastava, COO, Laqshya Media also agrees that spends on IPL are not very high this year. However, said Srivastava, the month of May has seen a lot of action in the OOH segment from other sectors. When asked why advertisers have shied away from IPL-related advertising this year, Srivastava conjectured, “IPL has been facing a lot of controversies recently, so advertisers might not have been keen to associate with it.”
Meanwhile, Sanjeev Gupta, MD, Global Advertisers also pointed out that given the localised nature of OOH, a lot also depends on the performance of the franchisees. “For instance, with KKR and MI now qualifying to the semi-finals, the OOH zones in Kolkata and in Mumbai and the surrounding areas are expected to witness a huge boost. Also, OOH is exploited to raise ticket sales. So, wherever the next matches are held, it’s those areas which will see a boost in OOH advertising. Overall, this is expected to compensate the dip in revenues, which occurred with the first leg moving out of India,” Gupta explained.