Dec 27, 2008

Mktg - India;Neo Cricket bats for entertainment

Purvita Chatterjee

Mumbai, Dec. 26 Neo Cricket has decided to promote its channel on the entertainment platform in a bid to attract a new set of advertisers in addition to enhancing its subscription revenues.

Having garnered revenues to the tune of Rs 285 crore in the last quarter of this year, the cricket channel is banking on its DTH and cable subscription revenues to record significant growth by the time the channel’s fiscal year ends in March next year.

“Our cable subscription has already grown by 55 per cent while DTH subscription has recorded a 50 per cent growth in subscription,” says Mr Abhishek Verma, Vice-President (Marketing), Neo Sports Broadcast Ltd.

Positioning itself as sports-cum-entertainment channel, it has decided to tie up with cinema halls, especially multiplexes. “We are in the process of tying up with 2-3 cinema chains and there would be branding and regular interactive contests held at such venues,” said Mr Verma. Besides, the channel has decided to link itself to Bollywood in the near future. For instance, Neo Sports has decided to bring in in-film branding by associating itself with the soon-to-be-released Bollywood film Victory. It has currently also associated itself with the kids film, Jumbo.

Afro-Asian Cup

With not much international cricket happening in the beginning of 2009, the cricket channel would be waiting for the Afro-Asian Cup held later during the coming year to get a boost in its revenues.

“Even in the beginning of 2008, there was not much cricket. However, it was between October and December when revenues shot up with the Irani trophy and the Australia and England series. However, on an average, ad revenues have been growing at 30 per cent on a year-on-year basis,” says Mr Verma.

There was also a spurt in viewership during the recent producer’s strike when GEC channels’ ratings suffered. “Our ratings shot up during the strike with GRPs even higher than the IPL matches during the England-India series this year,” says Mr Verma.

Auto sector

While FMCG brands continued to be consistently advertised during the year, there are chances of two-wheelers and cars also making a comeback with their sectors reviving after the economic slowdown.

“In cricket, advertisers are looking for consistent returns. While there is expected be a slowdown in advertising in the coming year, categories like two-wheelers and cars may also start advertising again,” observes Mr Verma. eom

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