The revenue of Multi Screen Media (MSM), which has telecast rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL), is set to take a hit in the sixth edition of the Cricket extravaganza, scheduled to begin on April 3.
With the maturing of the format and a slowdown in the ad market, MSM, which started its marketing campaign for the tournament yesterday, has not yet been able to lock in all the sponsors for the Twenty-20 league, despite a correction of almost 20 per cent in ad rates.
"We have brought down ad rates but will make up for it with volume gains," MSM President (network sales) Rohit Gupta said. Though he did not divulge the extent of rate cut, industry sources said the broadcaster was asking for Rs 4-4.5 lakh per 10 seconds, compared with Rs 5.5 lakh last year.
High rates had led to an unsold inventory for MSM last year. Gupta, however, is confident of selling the inventory for IPL-6 on time. "We have already locked seven advertisers. We are looking for two co-presenting and 8-10 associate sponsors in total. We will rope in all in 10-15 days."
He did not disclose names of sponsors, but it is learnt PepsiCo, also the title sponsor for IPL, and Vodafone have come on board as co-presenting sponsors.
Media buyers say the market is not buoyant at present. "There is pressure on ad spends and clients are in a wait-and-watch mode," VivaKi Exchange CEO Mona Jain said. According to media agencies, the channel is looking at over Rs 60 crore from presenting sponsors and Rs 38-42 crore from associate ones.
"IPL as a format has nothing innovative about it anymore. It remains the biggest launch vehicle for new brands, But in on Wednesday's market, we are not seeing brand launches," said a top executive of a media buying agency who did not want to be named.
IPL's viewership has gradually declined in last two years. It has also been marred by controversies, such as legal battles between franchisees and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.