Camera Ready To Roll, SET Gives No Regrets Pitch

New Delhi: | Updated: Jan 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
With just 10 days to go for the ICC World Cup 2003 to take off, satellite telecast rights holder SET Max of the Sony bouquet is cagey about giving out any revenue targets. Instead, it is talking in terms of traditional World Cup pie.

The broadcaster had shelled out a whopping $275 million for the exclusive satellite rights to two World Cup series and other ICC matches over a period of six years.

Even as the industry has been talking about Sony striking a hugely expensive deal, particularly after public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) got the terrestrial rights to 16 matches for free, Max executive vice-president and business head Rajat Jain told eFE, there are no regrets yet.

On the sidelines of a press conference to announce an initiative for the World Cup, Mr Jain, replying to a query on the revenue target from the biggest cricketing do, said traditionally in a World Cup year, the event sucks about 10 to 12 per cent of the total advertising pie in the market.

As per 2002 estimates, the total advertising pie in the TV broadcasting market is Rs 3,500 crore.

Therefore, DD and Max would share a total ad revenue of Rs 350 crore to Rs 420 crore between themselves, going by the assumption that 10-12 per cent of the total ad revenue will go towards World Cup.

Pointed out Mr Jain that, 85 per cent of the ad pie traditionally goes to satellite channels and 15 per cent to terrestrial.

DD has already said that it is going to get a guarantee amount of Rs 23 crore from the World Cup coverage. In a best case scenario, it is looking at a take of Rs 30 crore.

Although tight-lipped about revenue expectations, Mr Jain spoke about World Cup inventories with ease. While live, extra innings and live feature inventories have all been sold out, 25 per cent of spots are still to go, he said.

Interestingly, Sony is thinking in terms of an image makeover and brand positioning through World Cup telecast rights.

Something like Amitabh Bachchan hosted Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) had done to Star, said Mr Jain.

We are looking at intangible benefits too, Mr Jain added.

On that note, Max is being taken to foreign shores as well through World Cup cricket. While Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives will get World Cup on Max, Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore will get it through a sub-licensing arrangement with Sony. And, the broadcaster claims that it is looking beyond revenues in cricketing times!