Last year, it was the Lok Sabha elections that helped push up the balance sheet figures of all leading news channels and this year it is the ICC Cricket World Cup. However, it is a big question as to how broadcasters are keeping themselves relevant for advertisers to stick with their channels.
Ashish Bagga, Group CEO of India Today Group, says any event that is newsworthy be it election, Kabaddi league, Hockey league or something else has to be captured by a news channel. “But you have to capture it interestingly – go beyond reporting, get some behind-the-scene shots, bring facts, package it well and then present it,” he said.
He added, “A news channel is not only to report on politics. It should go beyond politics – be it sports, spotting trends or looking at some new issue. That’s what a news channel is supposed to do and that’s what Aaj Tak is pioneering.”
Advertisers such as Nestle, Raymond, Marico, YepMe.com, Paytm, Llyod, and Pidilite are on board for the cricketing extravaganza.
Ashok Venkatramani, CEO of MCCS Group, feels news channels need to plan exclusively for the World Cup. He said, “News channels broadcast content with cricket-centric shows. Viewers watch news channels for their in-depth coverage and analysis on the game. Also, the medium is slightly harsh on the performance of players and gives a balanced view.”
Talking about selling of spots, Venkatramani said, “News channel has always been popular and sold at premium, it will continue this time too. We are finalising the rates, higher than normal. Viewership will also be high.”
RK Arora, CEO of News Nation, says the new team has a lot of pressure to get the maximum number of brands on board. However, he adds, “Brands are also concerned, if the team will reach the semi-final or quarter final.” He added, “For programming, we have roped in former cricketers as experts who will share their views post-matches and got a new studio.”
However, it cannot be ignored that brands are shifting their budget to the digital media this time. Sports websites and applications are giving an easy access to all cricket lovers. This could turn bigger with every passing World Cup.