Mumbai: Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSM), the official broadcaster of the Indian Premier League (IPL), is asking for 15 lakh per 10 seconds of ad time during the last four matches of the tournament, about three times what it charged for the league fixtures, according to executives of the company and media buyers.

Before the tournament’s sixth season began on 3 April, the company had been forced to reduce the asking rate by as much as 20% according to some estimates because it wasn’t finding too many takers. To be sure, the company has pre-sold almost 90% of commercial time, so the higher charges are for the remaining 10% that’s being offered now.

The broadcaster had charged around 10 lakh per 10 seconds for the final of IPL 5 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings. It charged around 12 lakh for the IPL 4 final. The tournament, the current edition of which ends 26 May, is being shown on MSM channels Set Max, Six and Six HD.

Buyers of commercial time for the last four matches include matrimonial site Shaadi.com, energy drink brand Red Bull and GoDaddy, which hosts websites and registers domain names.

Red Bull and Shaadi.com spokespersons declined to comment. GoDaddy couldn’t be reached.

MSM is looking for another two-three advertisers, according to an executive who didn’t want to be identified.

In the current edition of IPL, sponsors paid 4-4.25 lakh per 10 seconds of ad time, while spot advertisers paid around 4.5 lakh, Mint reported in January. Once the league began, MSM increased rates by 10-15%, according to company executives.

Opinion among media buyers is divided over the spike in rates for the last few games.

“Over the last year, the rates for the league matches were rationalized, but the rates for the finals are at a higher premium, which in some way isn’t justified given that ratings are more or less stable," said Mona Jain, chief executive of VivaKi Exchange, a media buyer for clients of Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia.

Others say marketers launching new campaigns or brands will pay if they consider the platform to be an effective one. “IPL remains the only big-ticket TV property to bring in reach, especially for those advertisers who are not often on-air or seasonal advertisers," said a media buying executive at a leading agency who spoke on condition of anonymity. “So, for such advertisers with short-term goals, the premium rate isn’t expensive."

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