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MSM goes the FIFA way

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MSM goes the FIFA way

Hardly had the IPL frenzy passed, when MSM Group is all set to whip up football frenzy with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sony Six has also rolled out its new marketing campaign for the football championship, called ‘Live the Magic’. The campaign, which has only unveiled a TVC so far, sees the star-studded support of John Abraham in a whole new football avatar. The commercial was launched during the IPL tournament.

The broadcaster is eventually planning a 360-degree campaign across media, which includes TV, print, digital, OOH, and BTL activities. As per a press release issued by the channel, “The inspiration of the campaign has been drawn from the global obsession of viewers assembling to catch the most anticipated international tournament in the world of football. The term ‘Live the Magic’ was coined to ignite the fervour and the passion for football fanatics, as well as to call out to non-sport enthusiasts to join the party.”

Rohit Gupta, President, MSM Group talks about making FIFA as huge as IPL in India and the channel’s focus on sports as a genre, which contributes around 30 per cent to the channel’s ad sales revenues.

While cricket still drives all the viewership and revenues, over the years it’s the T-20 format that is increasingly becoming popular. “With 65 per cent of the population under 35 years of age, they need fast-paced sports, and football has clearly taken the position of the No. 2 sport in the country,” remarked Gupta. In 2103, the total reach of cricket was 210 million, while that of football was 155 million (and this was without the World Cup). Gupta expects FIFA 2014 to be the second highest watched event on Indian television after IPL.

Speaking about the marketing campaign ‘Live the Magic’ designed to reach out to smaller cities in an innovative manner, Gupta said that this time around, John Abraham has been signed on, who will be part of the wraparound programming.

Xolo Smartphone has been roped in as associate sponsor. “We are in the process of closing our deals and we will have all the large key brands associated with FIFA , there is a huge interest and we are in discussions with all key categories such as mobile, auto, handsets, e-commerce, consumer durables, etc. You will see a lot of brands present common to IPL. As we have all the FIFA rights from 2014-2018, we also have the second biggest football tournament the Euro Cup in 2016, our proposition to advertisers is to partner with us and be part of the biggest football tournaments for the next four years.  All brands are also looking to invest outside cricket and football is a perfect fit,” explained Gupta, elaborating on the sponsorships.

The next big question is how to take FIFA to the level of IPL, given the niche TG (young urban males). According to Gupta, viewership on football is growing at close to 25 per cent a year, in 2010 the FIFA world reach was at 63 million, while the reach of IPL in 2010 was 135 million. Four years ago, it was close to 50 per cent to IPL. In the last four years, there has been a tremendous growth in the overall football viewership and by extremely conservative estimates should cross the 100 million mark easily this time, he said. If this happens, then India will be in the top six countries with the highest viewership share.

The channel has been seen steadily investing in sports properties. Explaining the reasons for investing in FIFA given its niche audience in India, Gupta said, “FIFA is not a niche property. In fact, it is the biggest viewed property in the world and as per the viewership data here in India with a reach of 100 million.”

Sports as a genre is seeing a steady increase in online viewership, and the channel is doing a variety of things to monetise/ tap into the digital viewership. Digital is obviously part of their overall sports and a network strategy, and their digital revenues are growing higher than the overall industry revenues. They now form a significant part of the overall revenues. With the new look revived Sony LIV platform for FIFA the consumer experience of watching the games would be amazing as the person can choose the various camera angles that we wants to view the game in, apart from all the stats, etc., that will be provided online all the time, remarked Gupta. Close to 30 per cent of their ad sales revenues come from sports.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will kick off on June 12, 2014. The tournament will be in two stages; group stage will feature 32 nations and will be played from June 12 to June 26. The knockout stage will start from June 28 and conclude with the FIFA World Cup final match on July 13. Most of the matches as per IST would be late in the night and in some cases even early morning (21:00 hrs to 6:00 hrs). 

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