Therefore, a very unique set of brands keen on tapping a mass and male audience pool prefers to ride on it.
By Sonam Saini
Star India, the official broadcaster for Pro-Kabaddi League (PKL), has not been able to get advertisers to loosen their purse strings this year for the sporting property’s seventh edition. The broadcaster is said to have increased ad rates by a nominal 10% as compared to last year, for the tournament that commenced on Saturday. During last year’s edition, a 10-second ad spot cost Rs 1.5-2 lakh. As per industry insiders, Star India has also been willing to settle for the same ad rates as 2018 in some cases.
This is primarily because advertisers have already spent their big bucks on two cricketing extravaganzas this year — Vivo IPL 2019 and the recently ended ICC World Cup. Advertisers also spent heavily on news channels during the general elections. “Back to back action in the sports genre as well as the elections has led to advertisers experiencing fatigue,” feels Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties.
However, despite such setbacks, PKL has managed to retain most of the advertisers that it had last year — both on-air and on-ground. Brands such as UltraTech Cement, Tata Motors and Dream 11, which had brand tie-ups for season six of PKL, have continued their association with the sporting property for its latest season. As per the GroupM- ESP Properties Sporting Nation VI report, brands had contributed `90 crore to the central sponsorship of PKL.
As per industry experts, Star India quoted Rs 18 crore, Rs 12-13 crore and Rs 6 crore for co-powered sponsorship, associate sponsorship and official partner sponsorship, respectively. In 2017, the broadcaster signed the title sponsorship deal for five years with Vivo, for `300 crore.
Anita Nayyar, a media expert, says, “PKL is a low-barrier sport. It doesn’t cost as much to play this game, unlike cricket, which demands specialised equipment.” This nature of the sport dictates its viewership. PKL’s viewership mainly constitutes a male audience, unlike IPL or ICC World Cup, which have a more universal appeal.
Therefore, a very unique set of brands keen on tapping a mass and male audience pool prefers to ride on it. “This year might see some new advertisers. We are expecting telecom, auto, cement, personal care for men and other male-centric categories to get on board,” adds Sujata Dwibedy, EVP, head of buying and trading, Amplifi India, the media investment division of Dentsu Aegis Network.
Viewership of this homegrown sports league has been increasing historically, but season six saw a slump of about 31% as compared to season five. As per Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, viewership of PKL season five nearly doubled from 561 million impressions to 1.6 billion impressions. But in 2018, viewership fell to 1.1 billion impressions.
Yet, media planners hope that PKL’s loyal audience will tune in to watch the tournament. “There is no burnout for the audience as people are eager for more content of their choice. The timing for PKL should hopefully not dampen viewer sentiments,” opines Dwibedy.