New Delhi: Moving early to lock in advertisers clamouring to be part of the next round of the Indian Premier League, broadcast rights owner Multiscreen Media Pvt. Ltd is inviting bids for sponsorship rights next week and has raised ad rates by nearly 50% from the inaugural cricket tournament.
In the first season, presenting sponsor slots were billed at Rs21 crore each and associate sponsorships at Rs18 crore, while a 10-second ad spot was sold at Rs2 lakh for early games. The spot rates climbed up to as high as Rs10 lakh for the semi-finals and final, according to a senior media buyer who didn’t want to be identified. “This year, we are going to see around 50% spike in these rates,” he said.
Multiscreen, formerly called Sony Entertainment Television (SET), plans to wrap up 80% of ad inventory by September, says Rohit Gupta, president of its network sales.
The second edition of the league, promoted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, is scheduled to start on 10 April next year.
Advertisers are keen to associate themselves with IPL after the inaugural tournament attracted unprecedented television viewership with an average rating of 4.72 and some 200 million people watching it on TV. A rating point of one means 1% of the 150 million urban TV viewing population.
“Advertisers were initially sceptical about investing (in IPL broadcasts) so, traditional cricket advertisers such as Maruti and Pepsi stayed away from buying on-air sponsorship rights and Sony had to scout for advertisers,” said one media buyer close to the deals. “Now that IPL has been established as a success, the next season will see a lot of categories fighting it out for sponsorships and on-air presence.”
Multiscreen Media claims it has received potential advertiser queries as early as 1 June when the first season ended. “Several advertisers from this year, such as Hero Honda, Vodafone, Pepsi, Coke and Hyundai, have shown interest in carrying forward their association with IPL next season although they are yet to confirm,” says Gupta. “Several new segments, such as DTH (direct-to-home), retail and real estate are also likely to be included in our list of advertisers.” He wouldn’t elaborate.
Mint reported on 19 May that advertisers such as ITC Ltd, Future Group, and satellite TV services provider Tata Sky Ltd had confirmed their interest in next year’s IPL.
To cash in on the demand for on-air presence during IPL, Multiscreen Media is further amending its “category exclusivity” clause that meant an advertiser was the only company in its category to advertise on-air as long as it bought 50 seconds of additional air time.
“In certain categories where there is a lot of competition, we may open advertising to more than one player,” says Gupta. Multiscreen Media, whose movie and events channel Max had seven on-air sponsors in 2008, is planning to have an additional slot in 2009. In addition, the company, in collaboration with BCCI, is planning to have on-ground sponsors advertise on-air as well, “to better leverage the brand’s presence,” says Gupta.