Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the World Cup in India, is hoping that its strategy of broadcasting the tournament in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali alongside Hindi and English will bring in a large number of new advertisers. It has signed up TI Cycles and Manappuram, for example, only for the south India market while Dixcy has decided to advertise nationally although it evinced interest only for the southern market to begin with.
"Our strategy to broadcast in four regional languages will make the World Cup more accessible. Cricket, and especially the World Cup, is usually considered expensive and only very large advertisers were able to access it so far," said Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer at Star India. "We are also seeing interest from brands that have not been into cricket before and contribution from these new advertisers will be very high."
While spot ads for national advertisers during the World Cup are fetching up to Rs 5 lakh per 10 seconds, for south India an advertiser can get a 10-second spot for about Rs 1.25 lakh. In comparison, the Indian Super League football tournament sold for about Rs 1.5 lakh per 10 seconds. In the 2011 World Cup, the only option available was to advertise nationally at about Rs 4 lakh per 10 seconds.
According to Vinit Karnik, national director, sports and live events at media buying agency GroupM ESP, World Cup is the biggest opportunity from a sporting point of view and because of better programming by Star and regional content, the reach is likely to be better this year. "Hence we are seeing much higher advertiser interest," said Karnik. Gupta of Star expects total spends around the World Cup, including those by International Cricket Council's global sponsors, to be upwards of Rs 1,500 crore. "We will double the number of advertisers this time," he said.
"It works for audiences that don't understand Hindi or English, which is a large part of the country. Also, a lot of regional brands don't have the kind of big budgets that national ones do. Now more people can advertise around the World Cup," said Indranil Das Blah, chief operating officer of sports management firm Kwan.
"Earlier, the only people who could invest around the World Cup or even the IPL were the big national brands. Now, with this option, you can certainly have a budget that is one-tenth or one-fifteenth of the marketing budgets of the national players and still reach out to your core audience," he said.
The largest number of advertisers this World Cup are expected to come from the e-commerce and digital domain, sectors in which companies have raised a huge amount of venture capital funding over the past one year or so.
"A significant number of ads today on sports and other areas are from e-commerce companies. For them, metros and the B and C towns are the target segments," says Blah
According to Star Sports, viewership of the World Cup in 2011 was 60% higher than the and its share of the television audiences was 27% compared to 24% of the Hindi GEC category.
Star will also broadcast seven matches including the semi-finals and final in 4K or ultra-high definition format, the first cricket broadcast in the world in this format. It will also offer two new channels in high definition, including in Hindi.
India may have been ousted early in the tournament held in 2007 but, with a change in format since then, India is expected to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament with ease this time. ICC too knows that almost 70% of advertising in the World Cup comes from India, said an expert. "If our team does well, this will be the biggest World Cup ever in terms of reach," said Gupta.