Nimbus experience hits cricket telecast bid prospects

Purvita Chatterjee Mumbai | Updated on March 10, 2012

Channels, marketers wary of falling ad rates, viewership

Earlier this week, India's cricket board decided to raise the base price for broadcast rights as it includes Internet and mobile rights.

Is the hike justifiable? Ask channels and they say, forget the hike, they are wary of participating in the very bidding process – especially after Nimbus (the previous broadcast rights owners) failed to make money. Both ESPN and SET Max said they are not enthused about bidding. According to an ESPN Star Official, “It does not matter if the base price is high or low. We will have to see the valuation internally and only if it is suitable, we will bid for these rights.''

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Marketing Committee has kept the base price at Rs 31.25 crore plus Rs 1 crore (Rs 32.25 crore) per international game for A category and Rs 33 crore plus Rs 1 crore (Rs 34 crore) per game for B category. Tenders will be opened from Saturday. And the Marketing Committee will meet in Chennai on April 2 to receive the bids. Last December, BCCI had terminated its contract with Nimbus Communication claiming it had defaulted on payments. Nimbus, for its part, said that falling ad rates and lack of viewership had cast a shadow on India's numero uno game and forfeited the bank guarantee.

An official from Multi Screen Media, of which SET MAX is a part, said, “SET MAX is not being too adventurous and can take only so much of cricket.” SET is the broadcast partner for IPL.

The average ten-second airtime spot for cricket in television is now Rs 2.5 lakh.

Mr Atul Pande, CEO, Ten Sports, however said, “We will explore the possibilities and see the revenue streams which are made available. It is not just the base price number that concerns us. We will have some interest in the bidding process as we understand the commercial aspects of such rights.''

Advertisers chary

Advertisers are becoming sceptical about investing in cricket. According to Mr Krishna Rao, Group Product Manager, Parle Products, “After the Australia debacle, we have decided not to go after cricket as viewership has been affected. In the case of IPL as well, the cost per rating point has been shooting up and we are staying away from the property this season.''

Even Vodafone, a big spender on cricket, has diluted its spends. Mr Kapil Arora, Senior Vice-President & Country Head, Team Vodafone, O&M, says, “Vodafone is not wedded to cricket. It has decided to associate with hockey for eyeballs. It's also impressed with the positive energy generated by the World Series Hockey. But in the end it will be about the kind of value it delivers and has to make economic sense.''


Published on March 10, 2012

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