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Sony Pictures Networks India eyes Rs 1200 crore revenue from IPL; 80% inventory sold

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MUMBAI: The latest instalment of cricket's flagship franchise - the Indian Premier League (IPL) is almost here and the official broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India is going all guns blazing when it comes to getting advertisers on board.

With almost 80 per cent of the ad inventory sold, the broadcaster is eyeing revenue of Rs 1200 crore from this season of the IPL.

An upbeat SPN India president Rohit Gupta tells Indiantelevision.com, "We have mostly sold out our entire inventory. All the big spots are locked and we are in the last stages of talks with a few advertisers. We will be in a position to announce them in a day or two."

E-commerce giant Amazon, which upped itself as the presenting sponsor of the tourney last year, will continue to be a presenting sponsor this year too along with telco Vodafone and a new entrant in the category Oppo.

"We increased the number of presenting sponsors from two to three this year because of the huge demand. Mobile phone manufacturers Oppo has come on board this time as a presenting sponsor and it's great that new associations are continuing. It shows the growing interest level in the tournament," says Gupta.

Other sponsors that have been roped in include Freecharge, Coca Cola, Ceat Tyres, Tata Sky, Vimal Pan Masala and Raymond Suitings. 

"Freecharge is a new inclusion this year. We also have a few advertisers who went off for a brief period but have returned this year again, which is an encouraging sign. Coke has also come on board for the first time and hence we continue to have a cola brand associated with the tourney. We are in final stages of talks with a two wheeler and a four wheeler brand and it's likely that they will be on board too. This will mark the presence of an automobile brand too," reveals Gupta.

For the uninitiated, Pepsi was the title sponsor for the IPL for xx seasons but severed its association last year and hence 2016 will be the first time that rival beverage brand Coca Cola has decided to come on board.

When queried about the revenue that SPN India is eyeing from the IPL this year, Gupta refrained from commenting on the financials. However, a source close to the development said that the network has hiked its ad rates by 15 to 20 per cent and is hopeful of raking in around Rs 1200 crore in ad revenue.

The source says, "For a 10 second ad slot, the network is charging between Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh, which is 15 to 20 per cent more than what they were charging last year."

IPL will be telecast in four different language this year. Besides Hindi and English, there will be a Tamil and Telugu feed as well to cater to the southern audience. However, the network is not monetising the regional feed separately. "We don't monetise regional feeds separately. We will go ahead the way did last year," asserts Gupta.

A senior sports media planning expert on condition of anonymity says, "Rs 1200 crore this year means a 20 per cent jump from what they raked in last year, which is realistic as well as encouraging for the broadcaster. IPL has two new teams this year, therefore the sport will have a fresh and unwatched element in it. I think that has worked in favor of the broadcaster. Skepticism that were developing after the ban on Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are now all dealt with. Placed right at the beginning of a financial year, IPL has established itself to be a great avenue to garner eyeballs and it manages to sustain its trends too, which is great."

SPN has the broadcasting rights of IPL till 2017. The network acquired the rights for 10 years for a massive $1 billion, (Rs 6600 crore). Experts predict that the new acquisition cost, when the rights come under the hammer again, will be at least double of what it fetched last time round.

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