Ad free HD feed: Advertisers peeved at ESPN Star Sports

MUMBAI: Advertisers are peeved that ESPN Star Sports (ESS) did not inform them about offering an ad clean feed on its high definition (HD) service for the cricket World Cup that is being carried by the DTH operators.
A media buyer says that there was lack of communication on both the part of the broadcaster and the advertisers. "Both are to be blamed. The broadcaster should have said that they are offering a clean feed on HD. Advertisers too should have been clear that ads should be there if it was an issue. At the moment digital forms a small part of the viewership."
The buyer notes that in the future advertisers will have to be careful in the rates that they agree to pay. "While ESPN Star Sports has done ad clean feeds for HD in the past, nobody paid attention then. The Soccer World Cup is a smaller property compared to the cricket World Cup. Now HD has more visibility, which is why there is some concern. The impact, though, will not be much for this event. In the future, things could be different. So we will have to be careful."
Another expert says that DTH is bit of a grey area at the moment when advertisers negotiate. There needs to be some clarity on this in terms of the reach that DTH gives.

ESS, however, justifies its stance. "This is the not the first time that we have offered a clean feed on HD. We did the same thing for the Soccer World Cup and the Champions League Twenty20," says a spokesperson.

According to Lodestar Universal CEO Shashi Sinha, ESS will earn about Rs 6-7 billion of ad revenue from the World Cup.

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