As Doordarshan prepares to telecast the Busan Asian Games and ICC Cricket Championship in the coming months, its tally from Commonwealth Games is not too impressive. The advertising revenue earned from the games, beamed live on DD for all of 10 days, were a mere Rs 10 lakh.
According to sources, in the case of another public service broadcaster, BBC, which had the exclusive telecast rights of the Games in the UK, there’s no question of earning advertising revenues. As per reports, the Games, particularly the closing ceremony, proved a television ratings hit for BBC.
Besides host broadcaster BBC, others with exclusive telecast rights to the games included Seven Network and ABC Radio of Australia & TVNZ of New Zealand. Although earnings of these media companies from the Games are confidential, their exclusive telecast rights were considered major media deals with considerable revenue expectations.
But for a cricket-crazy country such as India, media buyers didn’t think much of the Commonwealth Games. Hindustan Lever, Colgate and Shakti Bhog were the main sponsors of the event. Bank of Baroda joined in late at the time of India-England Women’s Hockey final.
DD has managed to collect only Rs 10 lakh in ad revenues for the Games at a time when private broadcasters are aggressively contesting for sport rights and the resulting ad revenues. Sony Entertainment Television, which has the satellite telecast rights to World Cup 2003 and 2007 and ICC tournament 2002, is already working on the advertising rates and packages. Recently, new-comer Ten Sports, which had exclusive satellite rights to FIFA World Cup 2002, had also managed to maximise its reach during the tournament and garner considerable revenues.
But as far as the Commonwealth Games go, the real differentiator would be the acquisition cost. While DD had to shell out a technical fee to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union to the tune of less than Rs 1 crore ($200,000), for showing the Games, SET is said to have paid around $250 million for its recent acquisitions. Also, ESPN-Star Sports paid around $200 million for acquisitions to international cricket matches played in five countries till 2008.
As DD moves on to telecast ICC cricket tournament and the Asian Games next, it’s done some rethinking on the ad rates. In the Prasar Bharati board meeting two days ago, it was decided to offer discounts to advertisers committing more than Rs 1 crore in a year to DD. Earlier, discount was available to only those committing over Rs 5 crore. The latest move is meant to rope in medium-sized and emerging brands.
The Commonwealth Games were shown live on the DD Sports channel. Also, one-hour daily highlights, produced by BBC, were shown on both DD National and DD Sports. Highlights were also shown on DD Metro everyday.
Interestingly, scheduled sponsored programmes on DD Metro were cancelled to show the Women’s Hockey Final match between India and England, which fetched a gold.