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Will World Cup Cricket mean a sluggish January?

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Will World Cup Cricket mean a sluggish January?

The first quarter of the New Year will see a lot of action. Thanks to World Cup, most advertisers have hiked their ad budgets for the first quarter of 2003. However, some media sellers suggest that January might be sluggish - especially for press and general entertainment channels - since most money will be locked in World Cup. A good time to buy media?

It goes without saying that biggest share of the ad pie in the next quarter would go to MAX and DD- Nimbus, courtesy live telecast of the matches. Nonetheless, others like ESPN and Star Sports would also try to ride the wave with World Cup related specials. Little wonder then that general entertainment channels and newspapers fear a downturn in their revenues in the next quarter. Opinions vary, though.

Says Punitha Arumugam, COO, Madison Communications, "Durable, two-wheelers and soft drink categories will divert monies away from print and general entertainment. Since they contribute to over 25% of the regular TV spends the channels will be affected to the tune of a minimum of 25-30% of revenue. Most of the FMCG advertisers, however, are likely to continue with normal spends in January."

Jasmin Sohrabji, Senior VP, Mediacom India does not agree. However, even she foresees a shift in focus for those brands, which would gain by a presence on World Cup. Says she, "Advertising activity follows media and marketing needs, and is not always guided by opportunistic buys. Having said that, brands where the media scheduling is flexible, will take advantage of the world Cup."

Media experts believe that 'holding on to the purse strings till World Cup starts' would not be so true of FMCG brands, which, any ways, do not spend heavily on Cricket. They, it is anticipated, might even look at other channels in a bigger way, and steer clear of World Cup clutter.

Ravi Kiran, GM, Starcom Worldwide, says, "For many of our Clients, it's business as usual. We do not expect consumers to stop buying toothpaste in January in anticipation of the World Cup".

However, Kiran does qualify his comment by adding, "But I do believe that many media owners will be less than satisfied with the final outcome of their efforts. There's less money in the market than there is excitement."

The fact of the matter is that it is not only the consumer durable and soft drink majors would save on ad spend on other channels, but also the biggest advertiser in the country, HLL. The marketing behemoth is not only sponsoring World Cup 2003 on MAX, along with Pepsi and Hero Honda, but is also the title sponsor for Sunsilk Femina Miss India 2003. Hence most of the soaps and serials, might see less clutter. And more opportunity!


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