FIFA World Cup may change the game for Viacom18  | The Financial Express

FIFA World Cup may change the game for Viacom18 


FIFA World Cup may change the game for Viacom18 
Media planners say on-air sponsorship slots for the TV and OTT programming for the entire tournament will range between Rs 5 crore and Rs 35 crore, depending on the kind of sponsorship and OTS

Qatar, hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2022, will take on Ecuador at the opening fixture of the tournament on November 20. But the game has already begun in right earnest for Viacom 18 Sports, the official broadcaster of the football extravaganza in India.

Viacom18 is hoping to rake in Rs 300 crore advertisement revenue, which is a whopping 50% increase from what Sony Pictures Networks could manage in the last edition of the tournament held in 2018. Viacom, sources said, is banking on the increasing consumption of football in India and the primetime schedule for the games.

Media planners say on-air sponsorship slots for the TV and OTT programming for the entire tournament will range between 5 crore and35 crore, depending on the kind of sponsorship and OTS (opportunity to see). Spot rates will range between 3.5 lakh and4.5 lakh for 10 seconds. The last time round, the 10-second spots went for Rs 3-3.5 lakh.

The matches will be telecast live on Sports18 TV channel and live-streamed on Jio TV and JioCinema app. Industry watchers expect the tournament to be a game changer for Viacom18. Football has emerged as the second most followed sport in India after cricket, according to a recent Ormax Media report. Most key matches post group stage will be broadcast during Indian prime time (8:30 pm), which will also draw in viewers.

Advertiser interest has been good so far, says Kumar Awanish, chief growth officer at Cheil India. He expects that the overall industry growth rate in the last quarter of 2022 will exceed projections on the back of the football tournament and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

“Even though the FIFA World Cup is taking place right after the ICC T20 World Cup, it is not a worry for advertisers with deep pockets,” he says. “Cricket and football are lifelines for brands such as Adidas and Coca-Cola, which is why these brands are already sponsors at the FIFA World Cup. Apart from them, we will also see a lot of advertising from companies like Qatar Airways, BYJU’S and Kia Motors during the games.”

BYJU’s has signed on as an official sponsor at the tournament, while Amul recently partnered with the Argentinian team. AB InBev-owned Budweiser has been the official beer sponsor of the FIFA World Cup for over 35 years now, and the company’s VP of marketing, Vineet Sharma notes that the Indian appetite for sports will only grow. In its World Cup campaigns, Sharma says, the brand will break down addressable audiences by medium, platforms and preferences to help avoid clutter.

Bhairav Shanth, co-founder of ITW Universe, estimates the viewership for this year’s FIFA World Cup in India at 120-130 million, combining both TV and OTT. “The previous tournament in 2018 amassed 110.5 million unique viewers across India as per BARC data, which is linear TV only. Considering the tournament will be streaming on JioTV and JioCinema, with a potential audience of over 400 million, we will see a 9-18% increase in viewership, compared with the previous tournament in Russia,” he explains.

Around 50,000 Indian fans are expected to travel for the event in Qatar, according to a RedSeer Strategy Consultants report.

This means that India will have the highest number of fans among non-competing nations, trumping the US and China.

Not everyone, however, is so gung ho. Navin Khemka, CEO of Mediacom South Asia, says that factors like inflation and the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup may see certain categories of advertisers holding back. That’s also one reason why spot rates haven’t yet hit the roof. “If a brand has sports on its media plan, chances are it has already put its money on the cricket tournament and may not spend on football, unless it is a global sponsor or has activations planned around the FIFA World Cup,” he points out, adding that some advertisers will hold back spends and only loosen their purse strings as the tournament progresses and viewership goes up.

Also, India’s football viewership is limited to metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and a few states such as West Bengal, Goa, Kerala and the North East. “Marketers in India are tuned to cricket which is perfectly designed for advertising with commercial breaks every four minutes. This is not the model for football because the break is long and comes after 45 minutes, when the viewership dips massively. Brands need to work much harder and build long term associations,” says Shekhar Banerjee, chief client officer and office head, West, Wavemaker India.

Also Read: YouTube brings out YouTube Shorts for the big screen

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First published on: 09-11-2022 at 09:27 IST