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How the 2015 cricket World Cup economics is different from its earlier editions

Sajee

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MUMBAI: The ICC cricket World Cup 2015 in
Australia and New Zealand has a lot of firsts
attached to it compared to its previous
editions.

To begin with, the ownership of ICC rights
has come under Star India following the
acquisition of Walt Disney’s stake in ESPN
Star Sports by Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty
First Century Fox (erstwhile News
Corporation). The India part of the business
came under Star while the remaining part
was merged with Fox International Channels
(FIC).

Another major difference is the
unprecedented scale of broadcast coverage
of the event powered by the Star India
network.

The upcoming ICC cricket World Cup (CWC)
2015 will have a record reach as Star will
telecast the tournament not just on its
sports network but also on its regional
channels.

Altogether the event will be broadcast on 12
channels in six languages.
Of the 12 channels, eight are sports
channels which include four standard-
definition (SD) and four high-definition (HD)
channels. As reported first by
TelevisioPost.com, the broadcaster is
launching two more HD channels, including
one in Hindi, to take the total number of
sports channels to eight.

Besides the sports network, the tournament
will be telecast on Star Vijay (Tamil), Jalsha
Movies (Bengali), Asianet Movies
(Malayalam) and Suvarna Plus. Incidentally,
Asianet Movies and Suvarna Plus will go pay
from 7 February.

According to sources, the regional feed will
be available only for India matches besides
few select top-notch games.
The telecast on entertainment channels
follows a similar strategy followed by Star
for local sporting leagues like Indian Super
League (ISL) and Pro Kabaddi League.

Talking to Economic Times, Star India COO
Sanjay Gupta said the regional feeds will
make it more accessible for viewers. “Our
strategy to broadcast in four regional
languages will make the World Cup more
accessible,” Gupta said.

Complementing the broadcast coverage will
be live streaming of the tournament on
starsports.com, the online sports
destination of Star, which has seen great
traction since its launch.

By contrast, the ICC CWC 2011 was
broadcast on just three channels, namely
ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket, and had
only two feeds, English and Hindi. The 2011
event, however, was also live-streamed on
espnstar.com.

Distribution and RIO

Unlike the previous edition when the ESPN
Star Sports channels were offered as part of
packages by multi-system operators
(MSOs), this time around Star channels will
be available on a la carte. This follows Star
India’s strategy of offering its channels to
MSOs only on reference interconnect offer
(RIO) for a period of one year.

Of course, Star had come out with an
incentive scheme for MSOs to put Star
channels in packages with guaranteed
penetration and LCN. MSOs have since then
offered certain Star channels as part of a
basic package. The sports channels come in
a higher tiered offering.

4K broadcast

Another area where the two events contrast
is that the 2015 CWC will see the first-ever
cricket broadcast in 4K resolution or Ultra
HD (UHD) format. According to ET, Star will
broadcast seven matches including the
semi-finals and final in 4K. With an eye on
the World Cup, direct-to-home (DTH)
operators like Tata Sky and Videocon d2h
are enticing consumers with UHD set-top
boxes (STBs).

Videocon d2h 4K STB will be available for
Rs 6,590 for new customers and Rs 5,990
for existing customers. Tata Sky has priced
new connection at Rs 6,400, while existing
subscribers can avail the box at Rs 5,900.

Advertising on regional feeds


Another first for the event is advertising on
regional feeds for the World Cup. Star is
selling advertising separately for its regional
feeds with the objective of widening the
advertisers’ pool.

“Cricket, and especially the World Cup, is
usually considered expensive and only very
large advertisers were able to access it so
far. We are also seeing interest from brands
that have not been into cricket before and
contribution from these new advertisers will
be very high,” Gupta has been quoted as
saying.

According to the ET report, Star is asking Rs
500,000 per 10 seconds for national
advertisers while the rate for South Indian
regional feeds is Rs 125,000.
Concerns over the timing of matches
notwithstanding, Star has roped in four
advertisers for the event including Maruti
Suzuki, Nestle, Raymond and Yepme.

Raymond Lifestyle CMO Ritesh Ghosal told
TelevisionPost.com that the World Cup was
a perfect platform to launch its brand
campaigns. The strategic scheduling of India
matches during weekends also made it an
attractive proposition for an advertiser.

“We have signed up as associate sponsor for
the ICC Cricket World Cup. We are coming
out with two big product campaigns during
March-April therefore we chose to advertise
during World Cup. The India matches are
during the weekend. Our ads will also be
carried during the highlights. Another reason
why we chose World Cup is because the
category clutter is less during this period
since competition doesn’t advertise much,”
said Ghosal.

Havas Media Group India and South Asia
CEO Anita Nayyar said that Star is providing
customised offering for advertisers like
regional feeds, India matches and timing-
specific packages. While admitting that the
timings are a concern for advertisers, the
scale of the event and its impact makes it
attractive.

“Yes, there are concerns on the timings;
however, India matches will certainly garner
better viewership than the others. At the
average level, the viewership will not get
affected,” said Nayyar. She also said that
the flexibility in packaging by Star will
result in a better ROI.

Dentsu Aegis Network Chairman & CEO
South Asia Ashish Bhasin said that the
performance of India matches will determine
the success of the tournament. “If Indian
team does well, then viewership will be
higher and it will also have a rub-off effect
on non-India matches. However, if Indian
team does badly, then the interest will
certainly wane. So advertisers are
evaluating their options,” averred Bhasin.

How the 2015 cricket World Cup economics is different from its earlier editions | TelevisionPost.com
 

M.J.Sadiq

M Jahabar Sadiq
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