Can IPL help revive media spends for 2020

After a lag in media spends due to the pandemic, industry experts debate whether IPL will help bring back the spends

IPL will hopefully trigger many more brand campaigns.

With the hunt for a title sponsor still on, slim possibilities of ticket sales and a generally sombre economic mood, can IPL help revive media spends for 2020? Team BrandWagon asks experts

Raman Kalra, partner, PwC India

‘IPL expected to bring in higher viewership this year’

IPL 2020 has brought the old cheer back in the world of marketing. While IPL did command significant in-stadia revenues, the lion’s share of revenue had always been TV and digital. A change of location to the UAE or the absence of big audiences in stadiums will have minimal impact on the revenue potential. On the contrary, it might actually deliver higher ad revenues due to significant pent-up demand, timely alignment with the biggest festival season across India, and the emotional sentiments of people waiting for any form of entertainment in the long-stretched lockdown environment.

Further, continued work from home and increased smartphone and digital adoption across semi-urban and rural areas is expected to bring in much higher viewership this year. There will be many new categories and advertisers who grew exponentially on the back of Covid-triggered digital acceleration, like ed-tech players, hygiene essentials and dishwashers in durables. Data-driven insights for understanding the fast-changing consumer journeys will be key for brands to advertise smartly across mediums for the right campaigns and returns. We also expect technology-driven innovations in broadcasting to deliver an immersive experience to audiences across platforms to offset the lack of fans at stadiums. This could potentially open up innovative brand engagement strategies and uplift revenues.

‘Diwali plus cricket is a double opportunity window’

Sandeep Goyal, Chairman, Mogae Media

The only prayer to the Almighty on the IPL is that we hope it runs without any untoward happenings. My fear: Dubai postponed its own Expo 2020, but are happy to host our cricket…worrisome. That too, now with stadiums one-third full.

IPL will hopefully trigger many more brand campaigns. It is a double opportunity window: Diwali plus cricket. Ad rates should not be an issue provided Chinese brands are not all banished or themselves lie low. Star TV is a quality broadcaster, and with kids all home and many elders too WFH-ing, IPL is bound to get the most viewership ever. This is a good time for e-commerce, edtech, e-payments, e-sports/ fantasy gaming, two-wheelers and cars, hygiene, insurance, OTT/ entertainment, FMCG, liquor surrogates and IT/ OA to advertise. I haven’t mentioned mobiles, as 80% of the spend is from Chinese brands. Besides, the likes of Swiggy, Zomato, Dream 11, Paytm, Byju’s and PolicyBazaar are all Chinese connected. The Vivo negatives may spill over to them all, too.

IPL is a superlative property; very precious and pivotal. Which is why the BCCI needs to tread with utmost caution. In an already delicate bio-bubble scenario, starting a women’s IPL is positively unwise. Will IPL cannibalise ad sales? The mainstay for GECs is mostly FMCG, which is never very active on IPL, except deodorants. So, the impact will be minimal. Digital audiences will grow, but will demand more interactive content.

Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist

‘Mobile handsets won’t dominate IPL advertising’

The long drought in live sports will be broken when the IPL gets underway in the UAE on September 19. After our world turned topsy-turvy with the pandemic, the IPL, with its upbeat trumpet call, will come as a breath of fresh air, reassuring us there is life beyond Covid.

Naturally, viewership will be great given the millions of eyeballs longing for quality live entertainment. With the timing shifting to the September-November period leading up to the festive season, and the final a week before Diwali, the IPL will be the perfect vehicle for many advertisers to drive consumer focus back to consumption. Advertising rates will stay high given the dual opportunity of increased eyeballs and limited competition from GEC channels.

This year, mobile handsets will no longer be dominant, given the category is led by Chinese brands in India, who will lie low keeping in mind the border tensions. E-commerce, food delivery, digital wallets and edtech will be the categories to watch out for, besides traditional consumer goods who will be keen to bump up months of flagging sales. While fans may miss the live venues and the accompanying razzmatazz, the on-field action will make up for the on-ground excitement.

Read Also: Cashing in on IPL: Star India looks at digital for revenues

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