Star Plus Vs cricket; one a glorious certainty, the other a glorious uncertainty

MUMBAI: No doubt cricket ratings have been pretty jinxed lately. And India's consistent nonperformance over the last couple of series have definitely got a lot of advertisers crying. What is a given here is that yes, cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. But are it's glorious uncertainties grave enough for advertisers and media planners/buyers to re-channelise their investment propositions?

 

 

Star in an exercise to reiterate its position in terms of ratings delivery and consistency in terms of it's cost per rating point (CPRP) released an ad which looked at Plus in juxtaposition to cricket per se. The ad, analysing further, talks about cricket being an uncertain proposition with reasons being rains or the outcome of a match vis-?-vis Plus which is not susceptible to the above factors. The ad also shows ratings of Plus in non-cricket seasons and then moves on to ratings during the cricket season versus sports channels which aired the likes of the Asia Cup and the Videocon series --- all validating Plus' claim of higher TVR's and consistency than most high profile cricket matches.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com, Star India's senior vice president marketing and communications Ajay Vidyasagar asserts, "Any media buy needs to be driven by rationale and not by emotion. Any buy is only as good as your current rending. When one talks about impact and visibility that needs to be validated through a rating mechanism. Star Plus has proven beyond doubt its robustness of ratings delivery, no turbulence environment and sustained value for money which only a Plus can give you. I know for a fact that when people take a plan without Plus, there is no positive rub-off on brand recall value."

 

 

While Plus' impact and consistency and its track record cannot be argued, media planners still seem to hold cricket as a valuable vehicle for advertisers despite the game's generic hazards.

Looking at both propositions (Star Plus Vs Cricket), media planners agree that Plus's claim of consistency and guaranteed ratings hold true. Although, Madison Communications' media manager Sudipto Roy points out, "If you look at the rates Vs ratings scenario that cricket has been commanding lately, the CPRP (cost per ratings point) has doubled for cricket and hence cricket as an investment option seems to be moving into the inefficient zone. Having said that, its not as though the clients putting their monies on cricket are not aware of their return on investment (ROI) being subject to the game's outcome."

Roy adds that cricket, although not assured, continues to be an impact vehicle and as a single investment option is still attractive.

Why attractive?

Advertisers like Pidilite, Hutch, AC Black Apple juice all have managed to achieve a high brand recall value and very quick reach build up which no other means can do.

Why cannot any other means deliver the above?

Group M's national director central trading group Lakshmi Narasimhan says, "Cricket ensures it makes the brand look larger than life in that short span. So, it all depends on whom one is buying it for."

Narasimhan further talks about two sets of advertisers:

1) Who have cricket as an integral part of their media and communication strategy. For instance brands like Hero Honda, Hutch, Samsung; who comprise about 40-50 per cent of the total FCT purchased.

2) The second being advertisers who take the falling ratings, the glorious uncertainties into account when they buy cricket and hence negotiate accordingly.

The key case in point being, "It is not correct to compare cricket and Star Plus for everybody."

While Narasimhan agrees that Plus is an assured deliverer, he also points out that rating of the No. 1 mass entertainment channel dips by about 30-40 per cent during most cricket matches. Off late, due to the nonperformance of the Indian team, the dip has decreased to about 10-15 per cent and hence the dip is not so drastic, he points out.

 

 

Starcom's general manager investment and new initiatives Manish Porwal offers, "Cricket ensures an advertiser not only exposure but engagement. This can be compared to a Star Plus' afternoon slot that although commands modest ratings, still ensures the advertiser engagement rather than plain simple exposure."

Porwal adds, "The point that is significant here is that although cricket is a high risk proposition for clients, the role of cricket itself needs to be addressed. For a launch of a product or a new copy, a cricket match delivers a super efficient build up at a pace that is unheard of. Additionally, one is not only looking at exposure but also at engagement and other mediums that ensure consumers involvement. Another case in point is that earlier, it was essential for an advertiser to buy 8-10 spots to ensure effective reach and visibility, but today 5-6 spots could also work for the brand."

Comparing the afternoon slot:

Vidyasagar here states that although engagement may be high during a cricket match, the engagement levels fall drastically during breaks as ratings show that there is a drastic dip during breaks in cricket.

That Plus for sure is a medium of glorious certainties and cricket the opposite is more than borne out if one were to look at yesterday's India-Pakistan match-up at the Champions Trophy.

India's not so magnificent "Men in Blue" got a pasting in the match and that has in fact been the Indian cricket story these last few months. After a heady two years, the recent past seems to have been a consistent failure in terms of ROI and this is a point that cannot be ignored. But can a Plus be as impactful a vehicle as cricket, and can it address the same hardcore TG that the former addresses is something that clients need to re-analyse.

The verdict may not yet be out on that one but one suspects that if their is a reversal in the Indian team's fortunes, the "feel good" that advertisers so want to be tagged with will again make such questions redundant.

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories