Sony Max expects to rake in R1,200 cr from IPL-5

Written by Ashish Sinha | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 24 2012, 09:27am hrs
Despite the dismal form of a number of big-ticket cricketers, coupled with reluctant advertisers, host broadcaster Sony Entertainment is confident of raking in R1,100-1,200 crore in advertising revenue from the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

It is aiming for a 10% jump over the on-air revenue generated during IPL-4. This, despite a number of big spenders like LG, Coca-Cola and Maruti shying away from committing big moolah.

"We should get 8-10% more revenue from advertisers for IPL-5. We are in talks with a number of companies. The deal will be sealed by mid-March," Rohit Gupta, president of Multi Screen Media (MSM), told FE. MSM runs channels, such as Set (Sony Entertainment Television) Max, Sony MIX, Sony PIX, and SAB. The confidence stems from IPL being the most-watched cricket property in the last four years, clocking high double-digit TV ratings despite some viewership fatigue setting in during the course of the tournament last year.

Sony has already roped in two co-sponsors in Tata Photon and Vodafone and three associate sponsors in Idea, Pepsi and Karbonn Mobiles, sources said. Set Max is currently in talks with Samsung, Nokia, Bharti Airtel, Hyundai and various FMCG firms to fill the five vacant associate sponsorship slots. Media agencies say Set Max will rake in around R600 crore from various on-air sponsors, while the balance will come from

spot selling.

According to agency sources, Set Max has closed the co-sponsor slots for R65-70 crore, a 35-40% jump over the rates that prevailed during IPL-2/IPL-3, while it is asking for R50-55 crore from the eight associate sponsors, a 45% jump over the earlier IPL editions.

"That is where the talks are stuck. Sponsors want to associate with IPL's television coverage, but not at the current rates. Then, the poor form of Indian cricketers is also not helping. If India wins the tri-series in Australia, there would be an overall positive impact on IPL too," said a senior executive from a leading media buying agency.

But insiders say 2011 was a good year for Sony India financially. The broadcaster may close this fiscal (FY11-12) with an advertising revenue of R2,300 crore, 10-15% more than the Star Group for the comparable period.

Combining the subscription earnings, Sony India may very well emerge as a leading media house, said a company source. According to the market buzz, Sony may also go after the India cricket telecast rights if the talks between the Indian cricket board and Nimbus fail.