Hindi may be the language of the masses, but cricket in English has attracted more advertisers at the ongoing Asia Cup.
While sports broadcaster ESPN Software India experimented by simultaneously broadcasting the last five key matches in Hindi and English on Star Sports and ESPN respectively during the current tournament, advertisers seem to have preferred the English channel more than the Hindi. And national broadcaster, Doordarshan (DD) seems to have fallen way behind in the advertising race.
According to AdEx India, which tracks advertising on television channels, about 279 brands advertised on ESPN during the tournament while 237 brands were present on Star Sports. DD had 218 of them.
The country's biggest ad spender, Hindustan Lever Ltd, remained on top on all the channels. Samsung was prominent on ESPN, AirTel on Star Sports and Fevicol was visible on DD. Cellular phone and services were the most visible categories on the private channels, while two-wheelers were big on DD.
Media planners expressed surprise on the presence of lesser number of brands on the Hindi channel. "Since ESPN Software has started Hindi commentary for the first time, advertisers may not have been very sure about the response. Hence they were present in lesser numbers. Hindi commentary has not yet come of age," said a Mumbai-based media planner.
Also, since DD with its wide coverage could not attract as many advertisers, it had to reduce rates on the eve of the match. "The national broadcaster had to drop rates and a 10 seconder was eventually available for Rs 1 lakh per spot," he added. The public broadcaster expected to generate at least Rs 20 crore from the matches and offered a 10-second spot for the India-Pakistan match at Rs 2.5 lakh, while a similar spot for the India-Sri Lanka match was being sold for Rs 1.25 lakh. ESPN had offered spots at Rs 1.30 lakh-Rs 1.4 lakh for a 10-seconder.
Mr Atul Phadnis, Vice President, TAM India, of which AdEx is a part, said, "Interestingly during the Asia Cup 20 per cent of the ad inventory was blocked off for promotions and there were fewer number of cut ads on the private sports channels. This means that ESPN has managed to handle its breaks well."
After ESPN sharing the rights of the second phase of the Asia Cup on Doordarshan, Set (Sony Entertainment Television) MAX will share the rights to the Holland Cup with the national broadcaster.
As per the agreement, the revenues would be shared in 80:20 ratio with the private broadcaster getting the larger share. Sources in Prasar Bharati said that both the broadcasters have in-principle agreed to the terms and conditions.
The Holland Cup is a triangular series between India, Pakistan and Australia commencing on August 21, 2004.