ISMF 2009: LV Krishnan and the seven sins of sports audiences

Only LV Krishnan could have made a presentation filled with numbers, figures and graphs and still enthrall the audience from start to finish. The CEO of TAM Media Research enumerated the ‘Seven sins of sports audiences’ in an interesting presentation at the India Sports Marketing Forum (ISMF) 2009, held in the Capital on October 30.

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: Nov 2, 2009 7:23 AM
ISMF 2009: LV Krishnan and the seven sins of sports audiences

Only LV Krishnan could have made a presentation filled with numbers, figures and graphs and still enthrall the audience from start to finish. The CEO of TAM Media Research was taking the audience through various insights into sports audiences, their behaviour patterns and what clients can learn from this. Krishnan titled his address as ‘Seven sins of sports audiences’.

Taking the audience through the top 10 sports in reverse order, Krishnan informed that billiards was the least viewed in India with 19 million viewers; baseball and basketball had 26 million viewers; hockey had 35 million viewers; car and bike racing had 59 million viewers; golf had 65 million viewers; tennis had 70 million viewers; soccer had 83 million viewers; wrestling, which has picked up in a big way, had 96 million viewers; and cricket had 122 million viewers. The other sports that showed some viewership in India included cycling, horse racing, volleyball, badminton, boxing, rugby, table tennis and athletics.

He observed that one reason why a sport like boxing was not picking up was also because it was not shown much on television in India. Krishnan also said that sports marketing trends went against popular perception of chasing only cricket. He then began with the sins of the sports audiences, and topping the list was Gluttony. He pointed out, “If one had to compare the hours of advertising on cricket and non-cricket sports, then till about 2007, there are similar ad hours consumed on both. The non-cricket games are sold cheaper and there are advertisers interested in these sports too. Also, the limitation by inventory or by price impacted the spending on cricket too. However, from 2008-09, the gap increased and IPL can be credited for that.” He said that as audience eyeballs increased, the boundary of lack of advertisers was collapsing on a continuous basis.

The next sin was Sloth, and Krishnan explained that every sport had its own unique sloth – in the case of cricket, the need to view the game was strong enough to take away from general entertainment channel viewing. Pride was the third sin, and both national and local pride of winning played a great role in driving the viewership numbers.

Krishnan cited the examples of the 2008 Olympics to explain that local heroes were also very important. Whether it was Abhinav Bindra or Sushil Kumar, how the events were packaged and promoted and how national or local heroes were bundled in it was also very important.

Wrath triggered ratings too, and that was seen in the number of the matches after on-ground fights between India and Australia or other teams as well. Lust had a role to play too as seen in celebrities’ focus on IPL or stars in tennis or cricket. Envy, for instance, matches with teams such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan also attracted viewership. The final sin was Greed and the simple point there was that only winning mattered.

Krishnan then gave the ingredients for success amongst audiences. These included the protagonists, who are the stars – like the players and the commentator, who together create the good versus evil environment. The second ingredient was emotions with words and visuals; action which came from the heroism on the field; the local hero who could be a living room favourite, where being an underdog helped; hype played a role and the coverage added to it. Finally, the end result and the interactivity completed the concoction.

The working model for success based on this included the PR Value tracking of STARs and Past Benchmarks; the Tracking Audience Behaviour and Past loyalty to that sport; Scheduling live, content airing and on-air promos targeting and Advertiser tracking and past advertiser association with sport.

Krishnan ended his session by stating that when one worked together, they got a good valuation exercise and good return on investment.

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