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Thursday, Mar 04, 2004

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India-Pakistan series: AIR spot rates up

Sriram Srinivasan

Chennai , March 3

IT'S not the television networks alone that have raked in record amounts by getting to telecast the India-Pakistan cricket series. All India Radio has been able to charge spot rates of Rs 10,000 per 10-second slots for the upcoming one-day series, a more than 180 per cent increase over rates that prevailed during the recent tri-series in Australia.

For that series, the radio service arm of Prasar Bharati had sold spot rates at Rs 3,500 per 10-second slots, and had earned over Rs 3.2 crore from 10 one-day matches. The sale of ad inventory for the upcoming series has already earned AIR over Rs 6.5 crore. The revenue increase of more than 100 per cent over the previous series is partly due to an increase in the number of match days (20 in this instance), though things could have been better had more one-day internationals been scheduled (this series has five), said the Prasar Bharati Marketing Director, Ms Vijayalaxmi Chhabra.

The presenting sponsors — BPCL, Airtel, HLL and Dabur — have paid Rs 40 lakh each, and have been allotted 450 seconds per match day while the associate sponsors — LG, Hero, Reckitt Benckiser, Pepsi, Ranbaxy and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways — having paid Rs 10 lakh each, have been given 210 seconds of ad time per match day.

The record earnings have been because of advertisers' appetite for India-Pakistan cricket, as also "Prasar Bharati's strategy of selling ad packages," said Ms Chhabra.

The broadcaster is also looking at earnings of about Rs 10 crore for its highlights package on Doordarshan. The channel had resigned itself to airing just the highlights package after efforts to get the rights for the live telecast failed.

Prasar Bharati has had separate rates for radio and television, though advertisers who have opted for both have been given priority over the others, Ms Chhabra added.

The broadcaster had also tried to create a combined package of this series with the Athens Olympics, which is to be held later this year, but it may take a while before there is more clarity as to the kind of programming that it will undertake during the games, she said.

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