After IPL, it’s FIFA time for broadcasters, advertisers

MUMBAI: It’s been a busy year so far for broadcasters and advertisers. First came the election campaign of major political parties in the fray followed by that annual extravaganza called the Indian Premiere League (IPL) and now comes the mother of all sports tournaments, the FIFA World Cup 2014.

If Multi Screen Media’s (MSM) Sony Six hit a six with the recently concluded IPL, it will most likely score a goal with FIFA as well.

As MSM president Rohit Gupta says, “FIFA is clearly getting bigger and bigger in the country. In 2010, the tournament attracted almost 65 million viewers while this year, we expect the reach to touch 100 million.” Gupta feels football in India is touching T20 World Cricket levels when it comes to popularity. Even when it comes to revenue, Sony Six sold 10 second ad spots for Rs 4.9 to Rs 5 lakh and the final IPL match for Rs 18 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, for FIFA, it is selling 10-seconders for Rs 2 to Rs 2.50 lakh. (Media planners, however, said that the spot rates for the IPL final were between Rs 14 lakh to Rs 16 lakh).

The channel has already got on board big advertisers, with Hero MotoCorp as the presenting sponsor and Xolo Mobile and Microsoft as powered by sponsors. Sony Six is also in talks with e-commerce sites that bombarded the online space during IPL.

Media planners however are doubtful about how many brands will shell out the kind of money demanded by the channel. “If we compare last year’s IPL with the just concluded one, we can see that there were a lot of new advertisers. Online retailers leveraged the sporting event well. However, the same cannot be said about FIFA. Yes, it is true that the sport is gaining viewership and hence, increase in ad rates but we cannot be sure how many will be ready to shell out so much money,” says one media planner on condition of anonymity.

Another media planner believes that while big advertisers and sports brands for whom, the tournament is a perfect occasion to advertise, may shell out big money for ads, but there won’t be much increase towards the end. “The rates are already too high and with the Indian Super League (ISL) too coming up, I wonder how much brands will be ready to spend with such exorbitant rates,” he says.

Moreover, they feel that football, unlike cricket, is not an advertiser friendly game where a break comes not before half time i.e. 45 minutes into the game. Therefore, there is only so much an advertiser can do on television.

Keeping this in mind, a lot of brands will be taking the virtual route to connect with the audiences.

All ‘out’ on social

In an official statement early last week, FIFA director of communications and public affairs, Walter De Gregorio said, “We aim to provide an all-round digital companion so that billions of fans can join in and share their excitement. Only the World Cup and digital can create this worldwide conversation.”

FIFA officials have launched Global Stadium, a social, online and mobile hub for the event, which will help football fans across the world stay connected and updated. FIFA’s website has also been redesigned in the run-up to the tourney with football fans in mind and this is complemented by a strong presence on social media. The website has been optimized for mobile and the official World Cup app that went live early this month.

In April alone, FIFA’s Facebook page reached over 280 million users, the World Cup page currently has more than 18 million fans, and there are over seven million FIFA followers on Twitter, who frequently re-tweet and engage in conversation across six language accounts. All these efforts have been undertaken after understanding the changing consumption habits and the “second screen” assuming prime importance in viewers’ lives.

Similarly, MSM too has announced the launch of ‘LIV Sports’, a digital sports entertainment destination called LIV Sports will be the official mobile and internet broadcaster of the tournament. The platform will show both live and video-on-demand match content, with informative statistics and analysis.

In a statement, MSM CEO NP Singh commented, “The idea was to create a premier digital sports entertainment destination where we will offer quality content which is mass inclusive and not designed to cater only to ardent sports fans. We have attempted to redefine the way sporting content is presented and consumed. With LIV Sports we will attempt to keep every cross section of our consumers actively engagement through high quality interactive sports content with informative data and analytics.”

The official beer partner, Budweiser, has revealed ‘Rise As One’, the brand’s global creative campaign, to celebrate the moments that unite and inspire fans of the beautiful game around the world.

“Most football fans come under a certain age group and hence, are very active online. So, it will be good if brands take that route to connect with them,” says a digital creative head of an agency. “And cheaper as well,” he laughs and signs off.

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