Three weeks into IPL, sports competes with news for advertisers' attention

Ad volumes of sports genre spiked by nearly three times compared to 22 days prior to IPL 13

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Oct 21, 2020 10:10 AM

In the absence of fresh content and live sports, TV news was the biggest gainer in the first half of 2020. Cut to a month into the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, news genre sees a dip in ad volumes as most advertisers flock to invest in IPL.

As per latest TAM data, the share of news genre in ad volumes shrunk to 30% during the first 22 days of the tournament compared to 32% in the same period before the tournament took off on September 19. Data also shows that in the same period, ad volumes of sports genre spiked by nearly three times compared to 22 days prior to IPL 13.

Interestingly though, GEC did not lose out much. Though growth numbers were far less than sports, ad volumes saw a 9% rise in the first three weeks of IPL against news’ meagre 3%.

“Through the lockdown, news had the highest viewership and gained in ad volumes too. Delay in IPL and absolute absence of live sports saw close to 67% drop in viewership in the genre. But now that IPL viewers have gotten their share of fresh content, advertisers are making the most of it by investing in IPL inventory and cashing on their reach,” said a media agency executive.

“According to BAR, Star Sports1 Hindi, which was on the second spot in the list of top 10 channels, clocked 1.3 billion impressions in week 40. A news channel cannot match up to even half the reach. Naturally, the advertisers are looking at news,” he added.

The demography of the viewers for both genres also has a role to play in the shift of advertisers.

“In last 22 days when IPL started, IPL sucked a lot of money from the market because it's very high impact and high cost property. The property gives you a good reach across markets hence the advertisers doesn't need too many channels in your marketing plan. Both sports and news are male dominated; you are getting the same audience on cricket that you were getting on news. Hence ad volumes on news channels are lower but it's natural,” said another media buyer involved with top FMCG brands.

Talking of advertisers, TAM data shows that top 15 advertisers on news genre had 32% share of ad volumes while top 15 list of IPL 13 had 48% share.

Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Unilever, Godrej Consumer Products, Wipro and Amul were the top 5 advertisers in the news genre while Oppo India, Sporta Technologies, Vodafone Idea, FX Mart (Phonepe) and Amazon Online India were the top five in the sports genre.

“Whenever IPL is aired, other genres take a hit. This time we had seen news as the biggest gainer, hence, the change in advertising pattern in the genre is clearly noticeable. Advertising investments are optimized to deliver a certain reach or x number of GRP, and the property that does that best takes away the biggest share of the ad volume pie. A lot of new advertisers on TV that had taken to the news genre have also moved to IPL sensing the opportunity in the property. However big brands have not completely moved out of news they may have simply re-adjusted their budget for various genres,” said another media agency executive.

As it turns out, Amazon Online India, which contributed to 4% of ad share in the list of top 14 advertisers in the sports genre, was at 1% on news. Similarly, ITC, which was at 3% on sports, was at 1% on news.

Players like Facebook, Samsung, Oppo, Vodafone, Coca Cola did not even make it to the list of top 15 advertisers in the news genre three weeks into IPL 13.

However, on the brighter side, news broadcasters are not discouraged by IPL. According to broadcasters, with multiple genre offerings under their umbrella, IPL increases AdEx and that is always good news. “IPL sees a lot of traction from advertisers but it is also a big ticket property. Advertisers who invest in IPL also invest in other genres which include news to balance efficiencies and maintain the overall buoyancy,” said Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer, Advertisement Revenue, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. “Numbers are better than last month and even the news genre has seen an uptick of at least 20%,” he said.

The genre will continue to clock high viewership and be a lucrative option for broadcasters.

“News genre witnessed tremendous growth in viewership during lockdown. And this trend has now turned into a habit with viewers glued to news TV. The genre will continue to corner a lion’s share of viewership over the next few months with major developments happening across the globe and India. From Boston to Bihar, polls are providing a big boost to news viewership. Also, the global Indian citizen is tuned into wars that have erupted in different parts of the world. And continuous information provided by news channels on Corona continues to draw in viewers,” said Raktim Das, COO, TV9 Studio, Digital & Broadcasting.

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