The proposed venue change of at least one leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament has vexed broadcasters and franchisees alike but in no way does it mean advertising revenues in the April-June quarter will dip.
Advertisers are expected to shift attention to programming around the general elections, as well as properties such as Satyameva Jayate on STAR Plus to make up for the loss of visibility.
Sunil Kataria, chief operating officer, sales & marketing, Godrej Consumer, says the elections will certainly impact his company's media plan this year. "We are still finalising our budgets for the next financial year but there is certainly less attraction for IPL this year. The fact that at least one leg will move out of India is not a very exciting proposition," he says.
The Godrej Group was one of the associate TV sponsors during IPL last year, as were Panasonic, Havells, Usha International, Karbonn, Mondelez (Cadbury), Samsung and Tata Docomo.
Suresh Kumar Bandi, divisional deputy managing director, Panasonic India, says: "We are likely to spend less on IPL this year. In the last couple of years, we did not find the return on investment very substantial. But given that it was a big property, we did put in advertising money behind the tournament in the last season. This year, with the elections, the venue change, our investment will be lower."
Typically, the April-June quarter accounts for 30 per cent of total ad spends in a year, as it is the summer and the holiday season. Categories such as colas, ice-creams, beverages, appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators, electronic products, travel & tourism, retail and telecom are very active during these months. With the general elections to be held between mid-April and mid-May, advertising for the quarter is expected to shoot up at least 10 percentage points, according to estimates by media buyers, who book spots for their clients.
Mona Jain, chief executive officer, Vivaki Exchange, the consolidated media buying arm of Publicis Groupe's media and digital agencies, says: “With national parties becoming aggressive in their campaigning, ad spends for the quarter will see a significant surge. This time, political parties are quite excited about digital, with almost 10 to 15 per cent of their spends going to this medium. Besides, there will be a lot of advertising on general entertainment channels by parties, as well as regular advertisers. It will certainly be an interesting time for advertising in the April-June quarter.”
While the Congress began its advertising campaign with Rahul Gandhi as its face about a month earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to do so.
At a broader level, the ruling government's various departments and ministries have been running ads extolling its virtues under the Bharat Nirman tag. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, also chief minister of Gujarat, has followed by running TV ads in recent months propagating the work done by his government in the state.