Ad volume for cricket up by 16% in last 2 years

IPL 2019 adex to grow by 15 per cent, experts say

MUMBAI: Sports viewership has undergone a transformation, with the burgeoning interest in sports other than cricket. While the gentleman’s game still commands most eyeballs (69 per cent), other sports contributed around 31 per cent of the overall viewership in 2017. Of this, Star India’s Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) scooped up approximately 50 per cent of the viewership.

However, a decade since its initial fervour, the Indian Premier League (IPL) still continues to enjoy a huge share of overall sports viewership in India. While the 2016 edition contributed 22 per cent of total sports viewership, that figure almost doubled to 43 per cent in 2018. 

Share of sports viewership jumped 2 per cent points in 2016 when IPL was on, and that scale up has only risen further over the years. It is also to be noted that in 2016 and 2017, the popular tournament was broadcast on Sony Max while from 2018 onwards it is being shown on Star India which expanded its reach into several regional languages too.

IPL 2018 generated almost equal viewership for English as well as regional language (i.e., other than Hindi). This opportunity will not be missed by brands looking to target emerging markets as well as those focusing on local markets. Broadcast in more regional languages will further aid this process.

AdEx on the rise

The ad volume growth registered in cricket genre was highest in 2018, as compared to 2016, with 16 per cent. The top 10 list consists of seven advertisers that have remained common for the last three years for the cricket genre according to AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research. 

Top three categories (Perfumes/deodorant, cellular phones-smart phones and cellular services) dominated the list of top 10 categories across last three years in cricket genre.

Every element of the digital ecosystem has become smarter - the consumers, the technology, and the platform itself. With IPL just a couple of months away, experts say that the there's going to be a rise of 15 per cent in India's AdEx and 2019 is going to see exponential growth in advertisement spends. 

In the long run, the overall TV advertisement spends are expected to grow on the back of sustained viewership from both urban and rural audiences as well as continued returns from the large investments that have been made by broadcasters in cricketing properties. However, with rising levels of content consumption on OTT platforms, advertisers could look to shift some of their marketing spends to digital platforms.

The use of sports in corporate and brand development in India continues to grow steadily. Sports sponsorship is driven by technological support throughout the system, increasing availability and consumption of sports online, growing options in sports events (beyond cricket) and use of social media to spread awareness and excitement about events.

On the strategy of brands with the IPL and general election set to clash, White Rivers Media co-founder and CEO Shrenik Gandhi said, “The game entirely depends on communication. For a person like me, who likes both cricket and politics, where and when I see an ad is essential. There will be a dissonance if I get to see an advertisement related to cricket when I am consuming election content. For example, there might be a day when the captain hits a century and the election results are going to be announced, during these times, a judgement call needs to be taken, and the other one should stay low. The key is to advertise the right thing at the right time.”

Technology and content innovation

Innovation is the key to driving engagement on social media and using technology can help achieve scale. International Cricket Council (ICC), for instance, enabled fans to collect virtual trump cards on Twitter using the hashtag #WorldT20Heroes. Through the use of technology and back-end algorithms to power automated responses at scale, these virtual cards achieved massive reach with over half a million tweets.

Star Sports’ epic “Mauka Mauka” campaign was extended on digital during the 2015 Cricket World Cup with custom emoticons from the Mauka Man (“Maukaticons”). Digital is a medium that smoothly allows you to innovate, and the best brands are constantly experimenting to create magic.

This is a great time for legacy companies with no or minimal branding to re-introduce their brand and to advertise for brand recall amongst audiences.

“To be very honest, any amount of spending on the same is not equal to splurging. Newly funded start-ups, companies that have introduced path-breaking ideas and have brought about a revolution in the ecosystem, may introduce themselves for the first time and make the most of this opportunity,” Gandhi added.

The hold of perfumes/deodorant, cellular phones-smart phones and cellular phones service as the top three consistently advertised categories on TV during cricket indicates that, for marketers, this sport remains a platform to engage with young, affluent audiences.

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