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ICC World Cup 2019: All eyes on India’s chances at the finals, Star Sports expected to hike ad rates

star india, star middle east, icc world cup, icc world cup 2019

By Venkata Susmita Biswas

With India cementing its entry into the ICC World Cup semi-final, official broadcaster Star India as well as fans are optimistic about the team's prospects. If India manages to secure a spot in the finals, Star India is expected to hike ad rates for the final match to be played on July 14. According to media planners, Star India could reportedly demand anything in the range of `30-45 lakh per 10 seconds from advertisers who want to make last-minute spot buys for the final match.

This is a steep hike over the bundle ad rates of `8-10 lakh for a 10-second spot for the entire tournament on television and Hotstar, and the individual rate of `14-16 lakh/10 seconds. Star India is hoping to earn around `100-150 crore on the back of the final match alone.

In fact, the ad rates for the finals are nearly double of what the official broadcaster charged advertisers for last minute buys of premium ad slots in the much-hyped India-Pakistan match held on June 16. The broadcaster is said to have claimed `25 lakh/10 seconds for the India-Pakistan match, raking in moolah worth `25 crore from it.

India had emerged as a favourite among bookmakers, encouraging the broadcaster to hike ad rates for the final match. The team's predicted entry into the final match could result in the broadcaster demanding over-the-top rates. "Typically advertisers who are looking for a high reach exposure for their brands purchase slots last minute depending on the teams playing the match," points out Sujata Dwibedy, EVP, head of buying and trading, Amplifi India, the media investment division of Dentsu Aegis Network.

As would be expected, Indian viewers have a clear preference for India matches and the viewership for matches played by the Indian cricket team accounted for 78%, 92% and 91% of the viewership in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, according to a report by BARC India.

The live telecast of the highly anticipated India-Pakistan face-off scored a viewership of 206 million. The last match that grabbed as many eyeballs was the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final played between India and Pakistan. According to Star India, this match had 172 million viewers tuning in. The ICC World Cup final is expected to garner similar, if not higher, viewership.

For a high stakes event like the World Cup, a broadcaster hardly leaves anything to chance. Therefore, the broadcaster sets aside only around 10-15% of the total ad inventory for eleventh hour buys. "This is the inventory that is sold at a premium to advertisers who don't mind paying high rates," says Sudhir Kumar, director, offline media, DCMN India. The ICC World Cup offers around 55,000 seconds of ad inventory per match.

Star India was hoping to make around `1,800-2,000 crore in advertising revenue from the ICC World Cup broadcast on television and Hotstar. But that has been slashed down to around `1,500 because of the rains disrupting the game. If India makes it to the finals, it will be Star India's last chance to extract the maximum value out of this tournament.

Over 40 advertisers, including Britannia, Coca-Cola, MRF Tyres, Bira 91, GoDaddy, Swiggy, Dream11, PhonePe and Havells, have used the cricket World Cup platform this year. This year, Star India is airing matches live on the entire Star Sports network, including regional channels-Star Sports1 Tamil, Star Sports1 Telugu, Star Sports1 Kannada, Star Sports1 Bangla and Asianet Plus.