IPL faces bouncers as airtime rates fall

Published: Friday, February 6, 2009, 14:52 [IST]
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Airtime rates fall as slowdown hits IPL

Mumbai: Despite the big money and glamour quotient that Indian Premier League (IPL) has attracted, its business viability is raising doubts among stoke holders.

Television advertising deals being offered for the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are signalling that even cricket, may not be immune to the downturn in economic growth.

Consider the facts: while media buyers expect TRPs to be significantly lower than an average India-specific international cricket series, official broadcaster SET Max is charging rates on a par with last year"s Twenty:20 or even World Cup. This, they say, doesn"t justify ad rates charged by SET Max, adding that it has created a significant divergence between expected TRPs and rates SET is charging. Traditionally, heavy advertisers on cricket such as LG Electronics and Airtel have chosen to stay away from the event. Also, franchisees say returns will not come at least for the first couple of years.

Leading media buying agencies forecast that IPL matches will deliver ratings anywhere between 2-3.5. Ad rates charged by SET Max, in contrast, are on a par with last year"s Twenty:20 tournament aired on ESPN-STAR or World Cup also on SET Max which delivered ratings as high as 10-14 per match. SET Max, meanwhile, is charging anywhere between Rs 1.8 and Rs 2 lakh per 10 seconds for the IPL, and inventory is now touching even Rs 2.5 lakh per 10 seconds.

Said leading media buying house MindShare India"s GM M K Machiah: “If IPL delivers TRPs between 3-3.5, then SET"s current pricing is very high. Only if IPL ends up delivering a rating of 6-7, will the rates be justified."

Industry analysts believe that given the expected TAM ratings in the first year, local team sponsors, who are rumoured to be shelling out Rs 15-20 crore are in all probability overpaying.

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