Marketers favour movie stars when it comes to brand building: Indranil Das Blah

Though cricket might be a rage and huge money spinner, marketers are still skewed in favour of movie stars when it comes to brand building, says Indranil Das Blah, Founding Partner, Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 8:54 AM

The Indian sports landscape has changed drastically over the last 10 years. The biggest catalyst has been the Indian Premier League (IPL,) which has established itself as a platform that can transform lesser known brands into trend setting ones in a matter of days.

In a country where films and cricket are both revered like religion, how does IPL compete with movies in terms of offering better scope for marketers? According to Indranil Das Blah, Founding Partner, Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions, though cricket might be a rage and a huge money spinner, marketers are still skewed in favour of movie stars when it comes to brand building.

"The reality is that entertainment and cinema are still the preferred platforms for marketers since India is a huge film market. In terms of how market is changing for endorsers, it's still heavily skewed toward movies," says Blah.

Ask him how he expects the IPL to fare under Star India's tenure, Blah says, "IPL has become a stable league as it has been ten plus years and revenues have increased from new sponsorship and broadcast deals. Also, the fact is that no one markets sports property better than Star. While Sony did a great job, however that was also a function of right place and right time and the format being so successful. But to take it to next level after 10 years, I think Star is a great choice."

While film stars might still be attracting a bigger chunk of the endorsement pie, cricket is fast emerging as a competitor as it has a truly pan India appeal, unlike Bollywood. "The sports genre has changed a lot in the last few years and the catalyst was IPL. Suddenly brands realized that Bollywood will work in 70 per cent of the country but it doesn't exist in the South or North East. If there is something that is pan India, it's cricket. There was cricket earlier too, but now you have a 45 day period where there are no big movies getting released, no big TV shows being launched. So today IPL has become the biggest entertainment property," stated Blah.

Despite the launch of many non-cricket sports leagues like Pro-Kabaddi League and Indian Super League, etc. cricket still dominates and according to Blah, India is no way close to be called a multi sports country. "I would say India has always been a one sport nation and there are no two ways about it. When you talk about sports market in India, it largely means cricket because cricket is the epicentre of it. In fact India and Brazil are the only countries in the world with huge populations where one sport is revered as a religion. I would say India is no way close to becoming a multi sporting country. However there are enough indications about other options besides cricket in terms of participating and investing," he said.

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