DD wont get gold from Beijing Olympics

Written by Alokananda Chakraborty | New Delhi, Aug 7 | Updated: Aug 8 2008, 06:46am hrs
Doordarshans (DD) coverage of the Beijing Olympics kicks off with a live telecast of the opening ceremony starting at 5.30 pm on Friday. DD has also lined up an impressive list of advertisers. While Samsung, BSNL, LIC and the ministry of rural development are the presenting sponsors, other spot advertisers include Maruti, ITC, Amul, Lenovo and some government departments.

With the spot rate at Rs 60,000 per 10 seconds, Prasar Bharati officials say almost 70% of the ad inventory has been sold out. The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, of which India is a part, has spent $17.5 million to buy the broadcasting rights, according to an International Olympics Committee estimate.

At this point in time we are not thinking too much about the revenue potential, says Sukhjinder Kaur, coordinator, marketing and sports, Prasar Bharati. Our focus is to bring every minute of the sporting spectacle before the people. We have already dispatched 11 camera teams and we will have 24-hour live coverage on DD Sports, besides daily highlights on DD National and daily programmes based on the Olympics on DD News.

But observers are keeping their fingers crossed. Last time round, the peak rating we got during the Olympics was around 0.5, says a Mumbai analyst, and adds: The average rating was below 1. People really sat down to watch Olympics when Anju Bobby George achieved her personal best of 6.83 mt at the 2004 Olympics Games at Athens. She finally came in at No 6. Of course, Rajyavardhan Rathore made history when he won Indias first ever individual silver medal at the Olympic Games 2004. But he was more of a surprise package and since not many people were expecting much of him, not many watched.

Just compare this with the ratings for the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship in June in Spain. It notched up the highest rating of 10.7 in Kolkata for the final match between Spain and Germany (June 29) but other cities also did not do badly. The all-India rating for that match was 1.45. ESPN, which broadcast the event, sold its ad inventory at an average of Rs 3.5 lakh per 30 second.

Again during the Wimbledon tennis tournament last month, TV ratings peaked during the Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal final match (July 6) when it stood at 1.3 (all-India). The ad rates for that event went for Rs 60,000 per 30 seconds on ESPN.

At best, DD can hope to make Rs 10 crore from the event, says a media professional based in Delhi. There is great potential in an event like the Olympics, but ultimately its also a question of smart marketing, she sums up. If the response of the advertiser and media planning fraternity is anything to go by, public broadcaster Doordarshan has to pull out all the stops to make the 2010 Commonwealth Games a mega spectator event.

The coverage is expected to be exhaustive, but there are questions regarding viewership and the revenue potential. The awareness level is low to say the least, says a marketing executive with a private broadcaster. I dont know how many in this country will be interested in track events or gymnastics.