India's scintillating performance on field has opened floodgates for Star Sports to rake in the moolah. After India cruised into the semis by trouncing Bangladesh by 109 runs, the broadcaster of the 2015 Cricket World Cup is understood to have jacked up television ad rates by around 200% for the remaining matches of the tournament.
A 10-second slot that was earlier being sold for around Rs 4-6 lakh is now being pitched at around Rs 15 lakh by the channel, said people familiar with the matter. When asked about the revised rates, a Star Sports spokesperson said, "Our pricing strategy for the World Cup has been consistent from the start. The semi-finals and finals are at a premium and cannot be compared with rates for all matches."
However, it is understood that media buying agencies that buy ad slots in bulk and at very cheap rates at the start of the tournament are pitching them to their clients at a more modest premium of around 50%. "We can get you slots for around Rs 6 lakh each for the semis," said a media buyer on condition of anonymity. But, market watchers said those Rs 6-lakh slots may be few and far between.
"Expecting a scenario like the one at present, Star Sports may have played its cards close to its chest and reserved the most premium slots to sell later. That's what most broadcasters do," said a senior executive with a leading DTH service provider.
When asked about the competition from media buying agencies, the Star Sports spokesperson said there is none so far. "With limited inventory left for the semis and finals, slots command a premium as compared to the league stage. We may have to drop some spots as we won't be able to accommodate the new demand for the last three games of the tournament," he said.
A lot of brands have joined the plethora of big names who are advertising during the tournament, according to him. "Amazon, Snapdeal, Dell, Panasonic, Toyota, OLX, Voltas have recently come on board, resulting in practically a complete sell-out. The advertiser count for this edition of the World Cup has been the highest ever."
Citing the fat premium in slog overs, Rohit Gupta, president with Multi Screen Media that broadcasts IPL through its Set Max and Sony Six channels, said a last-minute scramble by advertisers may not be enough to make the 2015 Cricket World Cup a success for Star Sports. "Charging a hefty premium in the last few matches won't help offset the lukewarm response it received in the early stages," he said.
India's poor performance in warm-up matches, the waning appeal of ODIs, non-prime time telecasts and the impending IPL had made big advertisers defensive. "We are batting for IPL that starts next month and will not advertise in the World Cup," said a senior executive with Coca-Cola India.