Will World Cup TV ad rates spike by 50%?

Marketers have shown great interest in the World Cup, but doubts seem to persist on the increase in ad rates and the odd timings of matches as they are being played away from home

e4m by Collin Furtado
Updated: Feb 3, 2015 8:27 AM
Will World Cup TV ad rates spike by 50%?

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, scheduled to begin on February 14, will not only see fans gearing up for the biggest cricket extravaganza but brands as well.

Promotions for the tournament have already kick-started with Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, staring its ad campaign ‘#wontgiveitback’. Brands that have partnered with the ICC World Cup 2015 include PepsiCo, LG, MRF Tyres, Hyundai and Reliance, among others. Star Sports has recently announced the association of some new brands such as Nestle, Marico, Yepme.com, Paytm, Raymonds, Pidilite and Lloyd with the tournament. All these companies will look to promote their brands’ association with the tournament.

exchange4media had earlier reported that the ad spends on TV for the ICC World Cup 2015 and IPL-8 were expected to be around Rs 2,000 crore (ICC World Cup, IPL estimated to garner television ad spends of Rs 2000-cr ). According to media planners, the World Cup alone is likely to garner Rs 1,000-1,200 crore in terms of TV ad spends. The 2011 World Cup had recorded TV ad spends of Rs 700 crore, suggest media reports.

Though a significant ad spend is expected on this property, the inflationary effect on ad rates since the previous World Cup cannot be ignored.

We take a look at the increase in ad rates for the World Cup and how will it affect the decision of marketers.

Increase in ad rates

According to media planners and marketers, the ICC World Cup 2015 has seen an increase in ad rates. They say the ad rates have increased by approximately 50 per cent from the previous tournament.

Media planners and marketers say ad rates for the 2015 World Cup have increased to Rs 5 lakh for a 10-second spot compared with Rs 3-3.5 lakh for the same span in 2011, and could go even higher if they picked India matches. Media reports had pegged the ad rates during the previous World Cup at Rs 3-4 lakh for a 10-second spot, which went higher as India progressed towards the finals.

Recent media reports suggest that Star Sports will be offering an ad rate of Rs 1.25 lakh for a 10-second spot to advertisers in the South Indian market. Star Sports, however, did not respond to our queries on the ad rate increase.

The increase in the World Cup ad rates has been on similar levels earlier too. Media reports say in 2011, the ad rates had increased by approximately 50 per cent compared with the 2007 World Cup. The reports stated that the increase in TV viewership and year-on-year inflation had been key factors that led to an increase in ad rates.

Though ad rates have increased by approximately 50 per cent in the 2015 World Cup, the increase in estimated TV ad revenues as compared to the 2011 tournament have also been in line. The TV ad spends in 2011 was Rs 700 crore. This year, the World Cup is estimated to garner Rs 1,000-1,200 crore.

Some marketers feel that the increase was expected as Star India is carrying out several initiatives to expand the reach of the tournament, but it boils down to team India’s performance. The tournament will be broadcast by Star Sports in six languages (Hindi, English, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali). Apart from the broadcast on Star Sports’ HD channels, some of the key matches, like the one against Pakistan will be broadcast on 4K.   

“They have increased their ad rates. Star (India), in fact, has taken a lot of initiatives from having it across multiple channels to having regional feeds on regional channels. It has taken the tournament to a different level altogether. Star might have taken a lot of initiatives to engage the audiences and the content consumed by viewers, but if team India does not progress, it won’t get that impact,” says Mayank Shah, Deputy Marketing Manager, Parle Products.

Doubts cast marketers’ interest

Star India recently announced that it has brought new brands on board such as Nestle, Marico, Yepme.com, Paytm, Raymonds, Pidilite and Lloyd, along with Maruti -- the traditional World Cup advertiser. These are too few brands to account for as less than two weeks are left for the World Cup to begin.

Some media planners say though many marketers have shown interest in the ICC World Cup, doubts seem to persist with regards to the increase in ad rates and the odd timings of matches as this time the tournament is being played away from home.

“There is definitely an interest among marketers. Many of our clients have asked us to explore the opportunities in the ICC World Cup. Probably, rates could be an issue, but in terms of interest levels it is very good. This (doubt) is more so because the India matches are few and viewership might dip on non-India matches. It all depends on how the World Cup is going to get priced,” said Kavitha Srinivasan, Principal Partner – Client Leadership, Mindshare.  

“The ICC World Cup is a premium property and the best in cricket that you can get. The ad rate is a stumbling block for a lot of clients, but we will work around it,” says Karthik Lakshminarayan, COO, Madison Media. Regarding marketers’ response, he said, “It is actually a mixed bag because it is the end of the financial year and the timing of the matches is odd. There are a lot of clients who are not interested, but want to get onto it because it’s cricket and more so the biggest event in cricket. They are trying to work out things and get onto the property. Nonetheless, I think it will do well.”

The odd timings of the games due to the tournament being played in Australia and New Zealand have cast doubts in minds of marketers who question the investment viability. It also depends on the performance of team India, which has not been at its best overseas. Though there are doubts, there is no denying the interest marketers have for this property.

Some media planners say the World Cup is being held in the last quarter of the fiscal, which is also a disadvantage as it would depend on how a company has performed during the year and only big multinationals will have enough funds to spend on it.

“The response for the World Cup has not been overwhelming. People are seeing it as an opportunity, but you have to see the state of the economy and not just the World Cup as a property. Though everyone says “acche din aane wale hai”, it has not yet come. Which means, if your industry itself is not doing well, then it’s a question of where will I invest my money. So, do brands have enough to invest in a World Cup property? Only multinationals have huge pockets and money from elsewhere to invest in the ICC World Cup,” said Ganesh Baliga, MD, Fifth Estate Communications.

Star RIO to affect tourney’s viewership

Another worry for marketers is the effect of Star India’s decision of carrying its channels on RIO (reference interconnect offer) basis with all Multi-System Operators (MSOs) and see it affecting the viewership of the tournament. As Star Sports channels come at a higher tiered packages offered by MSOs, there may be many who have not opted for the channels due to increased cost factors, which will have an impact on the tournament viewership.

The 2015 World Cup will also be broadcast free on Doordarshan and this would affect the overall viewership, adding to the doubts of marketers. 

As a lot of obstacles seem to lie in the path of Star Sports to make the 2015 World Cup a success, it still remains to be seen how it casts the doubts of marketers to increase their spends on the property. 

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