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ICC Cricket World Cup: Experts give thumbs up to Star’s geo targeting strategy

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MUMBAI: Beginning 14 February, the ICC Cricket World Cup is going to be this year’s biggest sporting spectacle to be jointly held in Australia and New Zealand. As national brands scurry to invest and make their presence felt, official broadcast network Star India has extended the opportunity for brands with a regional presence too. Star has created multiple sponsorship and spot buying options tailor-made for different feeds allowing advertisers for the first time ever to buy different cuts and air creatives in different languages to target their audiences sharply. The network is evidently looking at geo targeting.

The World Cup this year will be telecast on 12 channels and in six different languages. While eight sports channels from the network’s stable will broadcast the event, the others are Star Vijay (Tamil), Jalsha Movies (Bengali), Asianet Movies (Malayalam) and Suvarna Plus. 

A Star official said that the network is looking at exploring two options. Firstly, brands with higher budgets can pick for national advertising, which will have different ad spot rates. Secondly, if a brand wants to communicate to only a select audience in markets like Chennai, West Bengal or Tamil Nadu, it can advertise on these regional channels of the network. The network is currently in talks with more than 100 brands especially those from the e-commerce segments, in different markets including tier II and tier III markets.

Geo targeting advertising firm Amagi co-founder Srinivasan K.A says that sports feed in limited languages was one of the biggest problems for brands who were keen on investing in cricket. "They were unable to invest due to lack of structure in geo targeting and languages. If a particular brand had to run a Hindi ad campaign, most of South India would not comprehend it completely," he says.

While ad rates on the national channels are being sold for close to Rs 4.5 - 5 lakh for a 10 second slot, the regional channels will command a price tag close to Rs 1 lakh or less for a 10 second spot. Brands like Nestle, Marico, Yepme.com, Paytm, Raymonds, Pidilite and Lloyd have already come on board.

Srinivasan finds the strategy as a wonderful opportunity for local brands. "This allows specific brands with limited budgets to come up with specific campaigns in particular markets and advertise for this massive property. At the same time they can seek to tap the audience that they want," he adds.

How well could this strategy work? "This was previously tried and tested by Sony Six during last year’s FIFA World Cup and was a massive success on Sony Aath, which provided Bengali feed for the matches. Viewership too shot up," he informs.

Celebrity and sports management firm, CAA KWAN COO, Indranil Das Blah finds the move welcoming too for brands that do not have a huge pocket and want to look at advertising in specific markets. "While the price of advertising on Star Sports Tamil feed for example could probably be one tenth of what the national feed would be, the strategy makes sense for both Star and the local brands because it gives you less spill over," he says. 

But will brands look at team India’s current performance in the tri series before investing? "Yes there is a bit of a worry about India’s performance. However with the format of the World Cup, unless there is a huge unmitigated disaster, the top eight nations will make it to the next phase. Besides, the World Cup gives you highs that no other cricket tournament does. So that gives some surety to advertisers to go ahead and invest in the World Cup," concludes Blah.

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