IPL changed the paradigms of the broadcast industry forever. It had everything from cricket to entertainment to glamour. Season 6 of IPL was surrounded with spot fixing allegations and the final match ratings of this season fell down by 28 per cent. While IPL 5 final match rating was 8.92, the rating for this final was 6.9.
What is the future of IPL as a marketing property?
Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia said, “Judging IPL on the criteria of TVR ratings would be inappropriate. That is just one factor. We also need to consider LC1 markets. As far as spot fixing is concerned, it is individual play. I understand that the sentiment is low but one cannot associate the entire tournament failure with just one criterion.”
IPL has invited many flakes this year. From players to team owners to even the President of BCCI, the shadow of the spot fixing has rigged everyone, with speculations going up to the money being used in terrorist activities.
It is also felt that digitisation process is still underway and therefore, ratings are not complete as many HSM markets are still in the process of acquiring a digital addressable system. Himanka Das, Senior VP, West, Carat Media said, “The future of IPL would depend entirely upon how the BCCI and IPL management handles the crisis. Having said this, determining the future of IPL just on the basis of ratings is not appropriate. A lot of money of many stakeholders is involved and surely a solution would arrive in times to come. Every property goes through saturation. The entire incident has been overhyped and people are talking too much. Let us not decide the future as of now, and wait for further developments.”
Some industry experts also feel that betting has been in place since ages, and the authorities need a robust law to tackle it. “Either make betting legal or make a stringent law to deal with it. The government should stop beating around the bush,” said Vishal Shekhar, an Independent Media Analyst.
“Future of IPL is completely topical, but I don’t think it will have any serious setback. One needs to understand that cricket as a property would not die. Be it ratings or sponsors or BCCI, they all survive on audience. Audience will be there for cricket. Look at the amount of hype being generated for the India – SA match. People still know about fixing, but they are watching matches and discussing about it. Ratings are time bound and would change with time. We are always keen to buy IPL for our clients. There is no other property which can give you more visibility and branding than this one,” said a senior media planner from Mumbai, on condition of anonymity.
In an earlier story, we spoke to many advertisers on their future association with IPL; to which most of them had responded that the association would completely depend upon the way the crisis is handled and how things shape up.
Ratings are though just a number game as IPL 5 ratings were higher than IPL 4; experts expect the ratings might completely overhaul in the next season. But as far as brand association is concerned, sponsors are cautious. Ajit Varghese, Managing Director, South Asia, Maxus responding to an IPL story had earlier mentioned, “Controversies keep happening. When Salman Khan was sentenced for a jail term, many brands had taken back their endorsements. But now they are all back. Similarly, in this case, it depends on how BCCI is able to win back fans and public support, and handle the current crisis effectively. Short-term effect would persist but in the long-run, I don’t see a brand rupture happening for them and sponsors would continue endorsing as long as the team as a whole is un-tainted.”
The trust factor among people and brands regarding IPL has gone down. Post the controversy, people have started talking about match fixing possibility in matches if there is a sudden dismissal or fielding failure by the players of the either team.
The management committee of IPL has to be very precautious in handling the entire crisis, because the future of the property might exist because of the ‘cricket’ factor, but the glamour and sponsorship factor might be jolted.