ESPN expects 30% growth in ad spends from last year during the festive season
For the upcoming tour of Indian cricket team to Australia, Tourism Australia & ESPNcricinfo collaborated to showcase glimpses of the country beyond the on-field action
The sport of cricket surpasses all forms of popular entertainment in India and the evolution of the digital medium has made the pitch even more accessible to fans than ever before with scores, replays, and analysis just being a tap away on their screens.
As cricket enthusiasts flock online and spend more time viewing content around the game, capturing their interest is a big opportunity. To leverage this opportunity during the upcoming tour of the Indian cricket team to Australia, Tourism Australia and ESPNcricinfo have collaborated on a media content partnership, UnDiscover Australia, to showcase glimpses of the country beyond the on-field action at its iconic cricket stadiums.
The content partnership
The content series aligns with Tourism Australia’s recently launched campaign that seeks to showcase some of Australia’s unexpected tourism experiences to potential travellers by challenging existing perceptions and stereotypes about the destination.
Bringing the content series to life is ESPNcricinfo presenter and popular actor, Shibani Dandekar, who visited the five Australian States that are hosting matches including Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland to explore undiscovered gems of holiday experiences.
Jasdeep Pannu, Head of TV Initiatives, ESPN said, “ESPN appreciates the power of video content which is accelerating at a tremendous rate. Over the last few years, digital video and the platforms they are consumed on have redefined the media landscape. The power now lies with the consumer in terms of choice of content at hand and time of consumption. It’s an exciting time for content creation – with multiple formats and new viewing behaviour opening new avenues of coverage and entertainment – in sport and elsewhere. At ESPN, creating value-rich content for our sports fans is central to our values. At the same time, staying ahead of the curve in conceptualising properties that are relevant to consumers helps us learn, unlearn and relearn what works best for the sports fans of today – and it keeps our fans engaged at multiple levels with our app, site and content.”
He further added, “We are looking how we will put this out on the other platform because the content is really great but right now we are focusing on digital platform, as it's very lucrative for us for chasing stories. The consumption of sports content around the game, which is Game on Game, happens primarily on digital now. We are looking at social platforms, like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook because that reach is also pretty big.”
On advertisers interest
Akshaya Kolhe, Head of Sales, ESPN, “Advertisers are very excited. The whole festive period starting from October going till December and January, is the peak season for the advertisers to advertise. If there is a high voltage series happening, the kind of excitement especially when India playing with Australia, which is as big as India playing with Pakistan. We are already in talks with multiple sponsors and closed the deal with 7-8 sponsors including Vivo Mobile and other FMCG categories. Apart from these we are very sure that before the start of the series we will have 21-25 sponsors on board.”
On festive ad spends for ESPN
Kohle believes that this year spends have been much better than last year. Last year the entire media community was overcoming from the demonetisation and suddenly the whole GST thing started coming in. “There was a pushback from the advertisers spend because they were not clear how the whole tax thing will work. I think in a years’ time things have settled down. The next few months is full of cricket calendar, advertisers are excited and lot of deal are getting closed. We are looking at long term partnership with the brands starting with the India- Australia match. We are expecting 30 per cent increase over last year if you look at the quarter to quarter comparison. Last year it was around 12-13 per cent.”
On the Q2 performance
Kohle explains that September ended well because of Asia Cup, though it was supposed to have three India-Pakistan matches but it was one big tournament wherein ESPN had 20 advertisers for 20 day tournament. “October, the quarter started with India- West Indies series. The test matches were average but it really picked up with current ODI and upcoming T20. Then in November end, India- Australia series will begin. Hence the October quarter looks good so far,” he added.
On ESPN partnership with Sony Pictures Network India
Speaking about the three year-long partnership, Pannu said, “The partnership with Sony has been great. The Australian Open is a great example of how we get some great content into the country for Indian fans which will not be available on any other platform. Especially for the international sports, the partnership has worked really well. In terms of viewership, it all depends on the bunch of things and also on the nature of the events.”
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