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Ads chase another Test win
Bhupesh Bhandari & Partha Ghosh in New Delhi | December 23, 2003 08:18 IST
Corporate India's obsession with cricket is back after Sourav & Co's spectacular win over Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
Big advertisers, who were nowhere to be seen when the Indian team was down in the dumps, are now rushing for a piece of the cake. Commercial spots are booked even for the fifth day of the remaining two Test matches in Sydney and Melbourne.
The mad rush started on the fourth day of the Adelaide Test, when India's chances of pulling off a historic win on the last day looked bright.
Said Sanjay Kailash, director (advertising sales), ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, which has exclusive telecast rights for the series, "Normally, we keep 10-15 per cent inventory for last-minute sales. On the fifth day of the second Test, there was a sudden rush with five new companies -- Shaw Wallace, Pidilite, BPCL, ICICI Prudential and VIP -- joining in. The advertisement rates had to be raised as a result."
Executives at sports channels said they usually sold spots only for the first four days of a Test because very few matches had gone into the fifth day of late.
But as Kailash said, "After the last Test, all the 15 companies that advertised on ESPN Star Sports are demanding slots for the fifth day as well."
Around 8-9 new companies were talking to ESPN-Star Sports for buying slots for the next two matches, he added.
Said S Radhakrishnan, director (marketing), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd: "We target a particular viewership for our lubricant brand, Mak, and our branded petrol, Speed. Good matches provide us an opportunity to advertise our brands."
The Indian cricket team's superlative performance has also helped ESPN Star Sports to draw more eyeballs, and the channel is certain that this will be reflected in the next TRP ratings.
As per the agreements between television channels and advertisers, advertisement rates can be hiked only if the TRP rating for the second match turns out to be higher.
"This will be known only when the ratings are released, but we think that we have surpassed the 1.4-2.5 band," Kailash said. Test matches normally get lower television viewership ratings than one-day internationals.
Advertisers said if India did well in the Test series in Australia, they could expect higher viewership for the triangular one-day series.
Said a spokesperson for Samsung India Electronics, one of the sponsors for the Test series, "We have signed for the entire series, and hence, changes in advertising rates do not affect us. Since Samsung has associated itself with cricket and top players in the Indian team, when the team does well, we get more eyeballs. The returns are much higher if the team wins."