Mumbai Indians won the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League and that brings completes a decade of cricketainment. These ten years has brought in a much for lot many people. It has prooved out to be beneficial for players, broadcasters, sponsors and the bookies. IPL has been a profitable bet for Sony Pictures Networks. IPL has opened up doors for SPN in sports vertical which was previously dominated by Star and other networks.
Sony Pictures Networks has put in a lot of money in IPL and both IPL and SPN has benifitted from one another. In January 2008, Sony Pictures Networks took up the broadcast rights of the IPL for 10 years. In 2009, the deal was revised and SPN ended up paying Rs 8,200 crore for IPL’s telecast rights, considering that each season has 60 matches. As and when the number of matches increased for any particular season, as that of seasons 4, 5, 6 and 7, the broadcaster paid an extra amount on a pro-rata basis, Rs 13 crore per match. Against this the viewership has increased over each season from 102 million reach in first season to around 360 million in the season ended this sunday.
Advertising is the largest source of income for SPN during the IPL. SPN had to wait for first couple of year since the league cricket was still a new form of entertainment. But then advertisers started flocking the league and IPL proved out to be a launch pad of successful ad campaigns. The ad revenues were around 400-450 crores for first two seasons, reaching new heights of 600, 750 and 1000 crores in season 3,4 and 5 respectively. It saw a dip in season 6, 7 and 8 with ad revenues clocking 800-850 crores. But season 9 again had a rise to about 1100 crores and season 10 has ad revenues of about 1300 crores.
There are other verticals too that generate revenues for Sony. IPL is telecast live for about 27 hours a week on Set Max and Sony Six, along with their HD variants. There is a lot of spill-over programming, which includes the highlights of these matches and the Extra Innings. These properties are also treated lavishly by the advertisers,since sports lovers spend time on these programmes too. Another hot property is the non-IPL hours of Set Max. Since IPL boosts the distribution of the channel in a huge way, the non-IPL hours of the channel also get spiked viewership throughout the course of IPL. Moreover as IPL is broadcasted on entire channel package and not a single channel, advertisers are forced to pay for Sony Six, Sony ESPN and their HD varients too. The slots are sold at 6 lakhs for 10 seconds slot on SD channel and 2 lakhs for 10 seconds on HD channel. The combined package cost 8 lakhs for 10 seconds.
IPL is something that has brought Sony back into the market. Over the decade, IPL has grown out to be one of the biggest property on Indian television and has made Sony a strong player in the market. Advertisers come to Sony for their slots during the IPL. IPL has seen many successful campaigns. Vodafone has remained as one of the key advertisers during all the 10 seasons. It had its famous Zoozoo campaign running for all seasons. Moreover, the last season saw the camapaign featuring the padma awardee couple dicovering Goa with Vodafone network. These ad campaigns has been quite beneficial for IPL, SONY as well as the advertiser. Sony had not allowed advertisement for competitors for the same product. So, if Coke is advertising, you would not see any advertisement from Pepsi. This scheme brought to the channel premier and loyal customers for premier price. Customers were ready to shell extra to book the coveted ad slots.
Sony had been into the sports vertical since 2002. Between 2002-2007, it had rights for broadcast of ICC events. But from 2008 the scenario changed. With start of T20 cricket and cricket leagues, started a new vertical that attracts youth and women at a same time. Sony has further deppned its roots into sports vertical with acquisition of ESPN and Ten Sports. It has under its belly broadcasting rights for some good and big sporting events like the FIFA world cup, La Liga, Seria A, the entire ATP tour, NBA and WWE which is one of the biggest daily viewership property. Thus it has something in each segment for every veiwer.
Now considering that the network has to spend about Rs 820 crore in telecast rights, about Rs 100 crore for production amount and about Rs 10 crore for marketing campaigns, has IPL brought excpected profits to the Sony Pictures Networks? N.P. Singh, CEO, SPN quoted:” I feel that IPL has played its role. It has given us reasonable revenues, though not as much as I would have wanted a property of this scale to give. It is also because of the marketing dynamics changed over the years.” So SPN is looking for renweal of its contract with BCCI for the further seasons but it would make some safe bets and try to gain a maximum at lower price.