Jul 30, 2008

Entertainment - Doordarshan misses olympian ad opportunity

The most expensive and hyped Olympics in history is barely 10 days away, but official broadcaster Doordarshan has not yet made any significant move to cash in on the event and hard sell it to advertisers. As of now, few marketers such as Samsung, which is a global sponsor of the Olympics, and BSNL have associated themselves with the telecasts on DD in a limited way.In contrast, some advertisers are tying up with private news channels to cash in on the tournament during newscasts. A top Prasar Bharati official told ET: “We are still in the process of tying up with sponsors, though Samsung and BSNL have come on board. For Prasar Bharati, revenue is not the main focus; we will focus on extensive coverage irrespective of the revenues.” Media buyers, on their part, say though Olympics can hardly be compared to the pricing power cricket attracts in India, sports such as swimming, tennis, gymnastics and football do attract viewership in the country and could have been cashed on. Said Madison Media Plus CEO Basabdatta Chowdhuri: “Marketing can help boost viewership and tune-ins; good marketing does make a difference.” The Olympics is being held from August 8-28. Pointed out Group M-owned Maxus India’s MD Ajit Varghese: “We are yet to hear from DD; they have not yet floated any ad rates in the market. With the kind of huge reach that DD has, we feel it’s a marketing opportunity lost.” Indian Oil Corporation executive director (branding & planning) N Srikumar said: “We have cut down our spends on advertising due to the current financial crunch. However, we will do some advertising in the minimum possible manner for one or two sporting events for our lubricant brand Servo.” A source pointed out that the sponsors could have been tapped for marketing opportunities by the state broadcaster in various formats. Some sponsors of the Olympics include Adidas, Coca-Cola, Kodak, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa and Lenovo. The opening ceremony on August 8 itself is expected to attract more than 80 leaders from across the world and is being positioned as one of the highlights of the high-profile event. “If the telecast rights would have been with a private satellite channel, the hype would certainly have been created to attract advertising and sponsorships,” said a source. The scenario could change in the future. ESPN Star Sports has acquired broadcast rights for the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in Vancouver and London, respectively. For the first time, Olympic telecast rights have been awarded to a pay TV platform across the Indian Subcontinent. The Beijing Olympics has raked in some $1.5 billion by way of sponsorship fees from close to 65 advertisers, many of whom have representations in India. The money, incidentally, is about three times more than what the Athens 2004 games had gathered.

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