MUMBAI: When MS Dhoni hit a towering six to seal India‘s victory at the World Cup final, it was mass India watching a piece of history being created after 28 years.
In a whole new era of India‘s superpower status in the cricketing economy, what counted was how many television viewers the game attracted and to what extent sports broadcasters could turn profitable amid high acquisition costs in a country that views a single sport with religious frenzy in constant regularity.
The ratings created history. The ‘Men in Blue‘s‘ final battle drew in a record 135.4 million viewers and it peaked with a TVR of 35.91, demonstrating to advertisers that if there was one mass medium available it was cricket.
The final contest fetched an average rating of 23.21, surpassing the classical duel between India and Pakistan that got an average TVR of 21 and peaked at 34.46 with 115 million viewers tuning in.
The semifinal between New Zealand and Sri Lanka got a rating of 4.31 and a peak TVR of 12.87, making it the highest rated for a non Indian match. Seventy million viewers watched it, according to data from Tam Sports (C&S4+).
The 2011 World Cup fared better than its 2007 edition. The final between Australia and Sri Lanka had earned a TVR of 4.53 and a reach of 33 million. The two semi finals had got an average of 2.55 TVR in 2007.
Overall, the event got a TVR of 3.86 compared to 2.02 in 2007. The India versus Sri Lanka final this time around got a rating of 11.1 TVR on Star Cricket, 8.13 TVR on Star Sports and 4.35 TVR on Doordarshan.
Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal watched the World Cup tournament the most this time. India‘s nine matches delivered a TVR of 12.07 TVR. In 2007, the three India matches had got an average of 10.33 TVR. The non India matches got a TVR of 1.29 compared to a TVR of 1.43 in 2007.
Dentsu Media CEO Sai Nagesh said that the performance of the event has been exemplary. "The amount of time that people spent viewing a game has been a revelation. It was thought that people would only watch the last couple of overs. That has not been the case. The non India games also did well. The fact that India was in a tough group which saw teams like Ireland do well boosted the event‘s performance."
What about the ad rate hike after India stepped into the semifinal stage? "The incremental increase in the performance of the final over the India versus Pakistan semifinal was expected. The rate of Rs 2.2 million a spot was worth it for the final for clients who came in at the last moment," said Nagesh.
|Top Five India Matches||Top five non-India matches|
|Final India versus Sri Lanka - 23.21 TVR||Semifinal New Zealand versus Sri Lanka - 4.31 TVR|
|Semifinal India versus Pakistan - 21 TVR||Pakistan versus Sri Lanka - 3.28 TVR|
|Quarterfinal India versus Australia - 12.34 TVR||Quarterfinal England versus Sri Lanka - 2.92 TVR|
|India versus England - 10.97 TVR||New Zealand versus Pakistan - 2.45 TVR|
|India versus South Africa - 10.11 TVR||Australia versus Pakistan - 2.28 TVR|
From the advertiser point of view, the series has been a rewarding one with most of them reaping a good return-on-investment. PepsiCo India executive VP - marketing, Cola Sandeep Singh Arora expressed satisfaction about the response it got for its ‘Change the Game‘ campaign which ran during the event.
"The campaign broke the clutter and connected with the youth, which is our core audience. Innovative cricket shots such as the Helicopter Shot, Palti Hit and Upper Cut have become a part of today‘s cricketing lingo, underlining the campaign‘s success and helping brand Pepsi take ownership of everything that is unorthodox about the game of cricket. Going forward, we will continue to come up with exciting concepts and game changing campaigns that connect with Youngistaanis," he said.
The success of the World Cup has shown that there is enough steam left in the ODI format and it won‘t get killed by the T20 invasion. "What this event has shown is that all three formats will be viable for a long time in India. There is no danger to ODIs from the Twenty20 format," Reliance Communications group head brand and marketing Sanjay Behl said.
Behl said the delivery of the event as a whole was 40-50 per cent more than what had been expected earlier. "It delivered more efficiency. We were the most visible brand during the World Cup. We did innovations in terms of digital boards. The future brand recall of India winning will be attributable to Reliance," he claimed.
Now with the Indian Premier League about to begin, will advertisers be willing to put big monies there also?
Media experts believe more advertisers would walk into the sport over the next few months. "There will be a premium paid. However at the same time, it is not that clients will stop spending on other genres. What the World Cup has shown is that cricket is a huge platform," a media buyer said.
For brands involved with the World Cup, there has been a big rub off in terms of brand loyalty. "The performance has been spectacular. Companies in categories like telecom already do a lot around cricket. This will continue. In some cases, this could intensify," a media analyst said.
Many of the advertisers have already booked slots on IPL. LG CMO LK Gupta said, "We already have our hands full. With the IPL, we are an on-air sponsor and the aim is to have the media share of voice. With the World Cup, it was about building a consumer connect on the ground and creating engagement."
Gupta said that throughout the event LG brand got good exposure. "It wasn‘t just about the fact that India won the final. The respect and stature of the brand grew, thanks to our association with this event."
The World Cup has thrown up an iinteresting trend with FMCG companies betting their ad monies on cricket.
"Brands will want a piece of the pie. More companies will want to ride the bandwagon. Already you are seeing some FMCG companies advertising on cricket, which they did not do earlier. This is due to the fact that increasingly women tune in to cricket. While this is due to the rise of T20, the effect has spilled over to the ODIs. You are also seeing categories like cement and inverters starting to use cricket to generate eyeballs. This activity might speed up due to the World Cup win," Gupta said.