Broadcaster hikes ad rates for Tendulkar’s last two test matches

Two days ago, when reports trickled in from Lahli, Haryana, that Sachin Tendulkar had been bowled for a mere five runs in his last Ranji Trophy match, ad sales executives at Star Sports were a worried lot.

Star has a lot riding on the India-West Indies series, which will feature Tendulkar’s 200th and final Test match. The broadcaster had revised its advertising rates after it saw the hype around the batting maestro’s retirement.

The worry turned to elation on Tuesday, after the Master Blaster scored an unbeaten 55 in the second innings, putting the Mumbai team in a winning position in difficult batting conditions.

That performance saw the Star Sports executives furiously calling advertisers to book their airtime for the two Tests against the West Indies, which will take place in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens and Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium.

Some media buyers say that the broadcaster is quoting Rs 1 lakh for a 10-second spot, while the norm for a regular Test series is Rs 40,000-50,000. Others insist that Star is quoting an astronomical Rs 3 lakh for a 10-second slot.

While the broadcaster’s executives declined to comment, a senior executive with a rival sports channel said: “Charging a 200-300 per cent premium on the existing rates is not very high, considering that it is Sachin’s last series. Moreover, not all advertisers will pay the card rate, as there will be enough scope for negotiations.”

The real advertising action may not be on television but outside the stadium and around the city that hosts the match, says Ashish Bhasin, Chairman, India and CEO, South-East Asia, for Aegis Media.

“Expect to see a lot of guerrilla marketing efforts from brands that are not official sponsors,” he warns.

Media services veterans say clients are still undecided on how much money to put in. “The advertiser interest in this series will definitely go beyond regular tournaments. But I am not sure if they will go overboard,” says Harish Shriyan, COO, Omnicom Media Group.

Others, including Sam Balsara, CMD of Madison World, and Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, second that.

But some have other priorities, jokes a senior media services executive: “They are all chasing tickets for the Test matches rather than ad spots.”

prasad.s@thehindu.co.in

adith.charlie@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 29, 2013)
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