Saturday, May 18, 2024

IPL ad revenues drop as media rights get divided

Mumbai: The battle for eyeballs between broadcasters Disney Star and Viacom18 has intensified as the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets under way. With the networks competing fiercely against each other, ad revenues have taken a hit, dropping to a combined 3,000 crore from the previous season’s 4,600 crore haul across TV and digital platforms.

Despite efforts by TV rights holder Disney Star and streaming rights owner Viacom18 to secure last-minute ad deals, both networks are significantly lagging their respective targets, people across companies and media agencies confirmed.

As of 30 March, only 3,000 crore worth of deals have been inked, with 2,000 crore by Star Sports and the remaining 1,000 crore by Viacom18’s JioCinema OTT platform, according to a senior media agency executive.

Last season, Star Sports earned 3,100 crore in ad revenues, while its arm Disney+Hotstar booked sponsorships and advertising worth 1,500 crore.

This year, Star Sports has signed 13 sponsors, including Dream11, charged by Thums Up, Airtel, Asian Paints and others, while Viacom18 has 21 sponsors on board, including one co-presenter —Dream11—and three powered by (PhonePe, JioMart and Tiago EV). There are also 17 associate sponsors.

So far, Disney Star has sold only about 60-65% of its inventory, the head of a media agency said. “They are asking for 17 lakh- 18 lakh for a 10-second spot on average for league matches and 33 lakh- 35 lakh for the playoffs. During the league, they may sign another 300 crore- 400 crore if ratings hold up,” the person said, requesting anonymity.

On digital, JioCinema is asking for 6.5 lakh per 10-second spot on connected TVs, while for other video ads—pre-roll and mid-roll—it is asking for 200 CPM or per 1,000 impressions for a minimum commitment of 15 lakh. On digital platforms, brands are charged on the basis of how many people the ad is served. Digital also allows for various banner ads, for which packages are allowed between 100 per CPM to customized packages starting at 80 lakh.

“It is difficult to put an exact number, but if JioCinema delivers what they have promised to the brands, they may touch up to 1,500 crore. So far, their bookings are worth 1,000 crore,” said the media agency executive.

Disney Star has an advertising sales target of 3,700 crore this IPL, while Viacom18 has an internal target of 2,800 crore, according to the people cited above. Both companies are unlikely to meet the targets, they said.

“This year, originally, the expectation was that you would see a minimum 20% bump, which unfortunately hasn’t happened. And that’s primarily because of the macroeconomic climate,” said one of the people cited above. “There were a lot of advertisers who initially thought about wanting to partner with IPL but partially pulled back because of a lack of clarity on what the economic outlook is going to be, not just in India, but also globally.”

Email queries sent to spokespeople for Disney Star and Viacom18 remained unanswered.

The standoff between the two rights holders also confused advertisers a bit and played spoilsport, said a top broadcaster, one of the people cited above. “Many also decided to hold back and go into it last minute and maybe get a good price, which is why, this time, deals are still being signed and negotiated,” he pointed out.

Viacom18 secured the IPL streaming rights for five years, outbidding Disney Star, by paying 23,757 crore, while Disney Star retained the TV rights for 23,575 crore. This marks the first time that rival networks hold separate TV and streaming IPL rights. The 2023 BCCI-backed league season started on 31 March in Ahmedabad, with the defending champions Gujarat Titans facing off against the four-time league winners Chennai Super Kings.

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