Mo­bile Hand­set Mak­ers Make IPL their Play­ground

Of­fi­cial broad­caster Sony to get around 20% of IPL ad rev­enue from cos such as Oppo, Vivo, Lava, Mi­cro­max, which also spon­sor six teams

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands -

New Delhi: This IPL, it is the mo­bile hand­set mak­ers that will hog the most air­time on of­fi­cial broad­caster Sony.

Brands such as Oppo, Vivo, Lava, Mi­cro­max and LYF, in ad­di­tion to ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing the T20 league matches are also spon­sors of six of the eight teams. One mo­bile phone maker In­tex, owns a team as well.

Dur­ing the last sea­son of the IPL, it was the ecom­merce ma­jors that reigned supreme with brands such as Flip­kart, Snapdeal, Ama­zon, CarDekho, Car­Trade, Paytm, Shop­clues, Myn­tra bring­ing around 23% of the to­tal ad rev­enues for the broad­caster.

“This year, the hand­set cat­e­gory is mak­ing up around 20% of our ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues, the high­est among all cat­e­gories,” says Ro­hit Gupta, pres­i­dent of Sony Pic­tures Net­works. Gupta says Oppo has signed up as the pre­sent­ing spon­sor this year tak­ing 240 sec­onds per match, the high­est ever in the IPL. The other two pre­sent­ing spon­sors —Voda­fone and Ama­zon — have taken 210 sec­onds per match.

Vinit Karnik, busi­ness head at ESP Prop­er­ties, a sports and en­ter­tain­ment con­sul­tancy of me­dia man­age­ment gi­ant Group M says the hand­set cat­e­gory has taken over IPL this year.

He points out that it’s not just on-air ad­ver­tis­ing that hand­set brands are en­gag­ing in.

“The ti­tle spon­sor Vivo is a hand­set maker. And al­most ev­ery IPL team has a mo­bile hand­set brand as­so­ci­ated with it. In­tex owns one of the two new teams. They are present in all as­pects of IPL this year,” he said.

Kar­bonn, for in­stance, is the prin­ci­pal part­ner of the Delhi Dare­dev­ils team. Gionee is on the jersey of Kolkata Knight Rid­ers, HTC is with Kings XI Pun­jab, Re­liance group’s in-house hand­set maker LYF has signed up with three teams — Mum­bai In­di­ans, Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giants and Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore.

“These brands want to use the youth con- nect of IPL,” says Karnik.

Tarun Pathak, se­nior an­a­lyst at Coun­ter­point Re­search, says that although 2015 ended up as a year with the high­est num­ber of smart­phone play­ers ever com­pet­ing in In­dia till date, 90% of these play­ers are un­known en­ti­ties be­yond met­ros and tier 1 cities.

“With tougher com­pe­ti­tion, chang­ing strate­gies and Chi­nese play­ers re­brand­ing them­selves with big in­vest­ment bud­get, IPL be­comes the ob­vi­ous choice to reach out to masses in a coun­try where cricket is like a re­li­gion,” he said.

He pointed out that as losses of some of the lead­ing ecom­merce play­ers grew sig­nif­i­cantly over the past one year, most of them have cut down on ad­ver­tis­ing costs. “Smart­phone play­ers, on the other hand, are striv­ing hard to dif­fer­en­ti­ate their of­fer­ings,” says Pathak.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia plan­ners, Sony is ex­pected to make around .₹ 1,200 crore from spon­sor­ship and ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing IPL 9 com­pared to just un­der .₹ 1,000 crore in the last sea­son of IPL. Gupta de­clined to com­ment on rev­enue fig­ures.

Rev­enues for Sony are likely to rise this year on the back of higher ad­ver­tis­ing rates on high def­i­ni­tion as well as nor­mal feeds. “We are fully sold out and have in­creased rates by 15-20% this year,” said Gupta.

HD rates, for in­stance, have more than dou­bled, from .₹ 75,000 per 10 sec­onds last year to .₹ 1.75-2 lakh per 10 sec­onds, in­dica­tive of the de­mand and mak­ing it a strong com­po­nent of the rev­enue for Sony. Stan­dard def­i­ni­tion was sold at around .₹ 5.75 lakh per 10 sec­onds, ac­cord­ing to Gupta.

There was ear­lier talk of a long sea­son of in­ter­na­tional T20 games, in­clud­ing the T20 World Cup, im­pact­ing rates and de­mand for IPL among ad­ver­tis­ers and spon­sors but Gupta brushes that aside.

“We sold all our spon­sor­ships even be­fore T20 World Cup. IPL has reached a ma­ture stage and has be­come part of the mar­ket­ing cal­en­dar for most brands.

Ravi Teja Sharma & Gul­veen Au­lakh

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