IPL season 5 sees drop in ratings and TV ad rev

MUMBAI: The drop in IPL ratings and inability to protect advertising rates has put Multi Screen Media (MSM), the broadcast rights holder, under pressure to take stock of the situation.

The sixth edition of the IPL next year might be even more challenging for MSM as the television viewership for Indian Premier League has refused to go up despite several close encounters and record turnout at the stadium. When the IPL season began this year, Max had just six sponsors who had come on board at last year’s rate of Rs 500,000 per 10 second spot with Karbonn Mobiles being the only addition to the roster.

However, the drop in viewership has led advertisers to ask for a cut in rates. Parle had reportedly bought ad spots for its new cookie brand, Happy Happy, at a 25 per cent discount over the premium of Rs 500,000.

Even late joiners have cut deals at rates that are lower than last year‘s, implying that they are not disturbed advertising on the IPL despite a ratings fall. The sponsors who came on board have also benefited as they got a clutter-free exposure.

Says Reliance Communications head marketing and branding Sanjay Behl, “There was no premium on ad rates for the IPL this year. We are happy with the RoI that we have got on our investment, although there has been an 8-10 per cent reduction in ratings. We had discounted ratings by 20 per cent before making our media plan.”

The company had bought spots to promote Google-endorsed Android smartphone which is being distributed exclusively in India by RComm.

The average viewership of the tournament is 3.27 TVR for 68 matches compared to 3.39 TVR last year, as per Tam data for C&S 4+ All India market. The cumulative reach is 159 million for the current season, less than the 160 million last year.

For the first 57 matches, the average viewership stands at 3.3 TVR while the first 46 matches had notched up 3.4 TVR. The expectation was that the ratings would pick up as the tournament progresses but that has not been the case.

"We will sit down once the event is over and analyse why the viewership has fallen. However, the event has more or less held up compared to last year. It has been the 4 pm matches whose ratings got affected," says MSM president network sales, licensing and telephony Rohit Gupta. He, however, refuses to give any details about the ad inventory consumption.

MSM has used a chunk of the ad inventory to promote its sister channels including Sony Six, the newly launched sports entertainment channel. The strategy is not to let the rates fall deep as MSM holds the IPL rights till 2017.

Industry estimates place MSM‘s ad revenue from this season of the IPL at somewhere in the range of Rs 7-7.5 billion. In the previous edition, the IPL had fetched MSM Rs 9 billion from advertising. Gupta did not want to talk about the financials at all.

According to a top level executive at a leading media buying agency, the IPL ad rates decreased by 10-15 per cent over the last year and the spot rates remained flat at Rs 425,000-450,000 per 10 second spot.

Another media buyer estimates the broadcaster to earn upwards of Rs 7 billion as it has managed to sell its inventory as the tournament progressed.

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