By Varada Bhat
Neo Sports increases price for 10-second slots up to 70% for final leg, on encouraging TVR readings
After an overdose of Twenty20 cricket and riding on growing acceptance of football , the UEFA Euro 2012 Cup, being held in Poland–Ukraine, has seen viewership rise 36 per cent, compared to Euro 2008, The matches are being broadcast on Neo Sports.
The TAM data provided by the channel for six metropolitan cities show football viewership reached as many as 17.5 million; in 2008, the tournament had 12.9 mn viewers. In the six metros-Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore-the first 18 matches clocked an average TVR of 0.81. TVRs reflect the percentage of viewers watching a programme at a particular time. The last time, the average TVR was 0.67. The highest viewership was recorded for a match between Spain and Italy, with a rating of 1.78.
"We were expecting good ratings, as there has been huge acceptance of football in urban India, which is visible through the other football leagues ," said Prasana Krishnan, chief operating officer, Neo Sports Broadcast. According to media planners, the channel has increased spot advertising rates by 40-70 per cent for the final leg of the tournaments -- the quarter finals, semi-final and finals. Neo is said to be charging Rs 2-2.5 lakh per 10-second slot for the league matches, said media buyers.
Neo Sports had already sold 90 per cent of its inventory to advertisers before the tournament kicked off. It had tied up with Carlsberg, Cadbury, Intel Xolo, DHL and Reliance Net Connect. Spot buyers include Nokia Titan, Airtel, Samsung and Coca-Cola.
After cricket, football has always been sought by broadcasters, but one never witnessed such a premium for the sport in the Indian subcontinent in the past. The sudden rise in rates has surprised many observers, as the fan-following for soccer was generally limited to some states in India, such as West Bengal and Kerala. Now, it is considered a premium sport among youth.
A chief executive of a sports channel explained the rationale. "The last FIFA World Cup in 2010 fared very well in terms of television rating, as well as mass popularity, which was not witnessed in earlier years. The crisp format was also promoted and marketed extensively, which also led to huge amounts of out-of-home viewing among youth," he said.
Media buyers feel sports viewership in India is maturing, leading companies to look upon other sports as a viable investment option. Most of them estimate Neo would pocket Rs 45-50 crore in advertising revenue during the month-long tournament, compared to Rs 25-30 crore in 2008. Neo forked out $11 mn (or Rs 48 crore) for the broadcast rights. It has been acquiring big-ticket events such as the French Open, World Series Hockey and other football leagues after the Board of Control for Cricket in India terminated their contract last year.