New advertisers on the pitch


The Indian Premier League (IPL) might have started on a slow pitch in terms of advertiser interest, but latest data from TAM Media Research show as many as 18 new categories and 61 new products were advertised on TV during the first 25 matches of the series. Airtel 5G Plus topped the list of newcomers, followed by Parle Platina Hide & Seek Bourbon, Vivo V27 series, Thums Up Charged and Joy Hello Sun sunblock lotion.

E-commerce gaming and pan masala are the two top advertising categories on television in the first 25 matches, followed by aerated soft drinks, biscuits and telecom. These top five categories accounted for 58% of the ad volumes. Sporta Technologies (Dream11) and Kamala Pasand Pan Foods were the top advertisers with 12% and 8% volume share respectively. The other top advertisers are Bharti Airtel, Coca-Cola India and Vishnu Packaging.

Digital too is seeing a heartening response from advertisers during the IPL, despite the tough market conditions. In an interview with Financial Express Brand Wagon earlier this week, Anil Jayaraj, CEO, Viacom18 Sports said that JioCinema, the official streaming partner for IPL, is confident of reaching its target of 500 advertisers this season. It already has 23 sponsors on board and will be adding a couple more.

IPL’s TV broadcaster Star Sports started with 13 sponsors and added three more. The broadcaster now has close to 90 brands, adding about 35 since the start of the tournament. Star Sports declined to comment on these numbers.

Off the ground

What created a bit of panic early on in the tournament was that many of the big spenders from last season are absent, with start-ups and brands in ed-tech no longer advertising. As per TAM, a total of 40 categories are missing from the advertising pitch this year vis-a-vis IPL 2022.

The big positive has been the growing presence of new advertisers and unconventional players this IPL. Media agency leaders have noted a jump in advertisers from categories like ethnic wear, kitchen appliances, skincare, dry fruits, travel luggage and construction products.

One unconventional brand which made its IPL debut last season and continues to associate this year is RSH Global’s Joy Personal Care. The brand associated with the IPL broadcast on TV and digital last year, and partnered with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise. Explaining its objectives of these associations, Poulomi Roy, CMO of RSH Global Global, says, “The association with KKR and with the IPL broadcast on TV helped us build stronger trade partnerships, especially as the trade partner ecosystem is male dominated. That said, female viewership for IPL has also been increasing steadily, and as of 2021, women make up 43% of the viewership. Awareness and reach are paramount to our brand right now, and IPL gives us both, especially on TV.” The brand has only marginally increased its spending, by 4-5% from last year, but Roy points out that its GRPs (gross rating points) have nearly doubled and that the brand has an added advantage since it is one of the few women-focused advertisers on IPL.

Glad tidings

One of the key reasons for the positive shift in advertiser sentiment has been record viewership numbers on both, JioCinema and Star Sports. As per JioCinema, the opening weekend for IPL clocked over 1,470 million video views, crossing the digital figure for the entire season last year. According to BARC data, 400 million viewers tuned in to Disney Star live broadcast of the first 29 matches, surpassing the reach of the whole of last season.

If this viewership trend continues, industry observers reckon that more advertisers will get on board closer to the end of the season. “With the TV and digital rights going to different players this year, advertisers have been criss-crossing media platforms based on their target market and demographic segment. The long season of the event helps advertisers straddle the two platforms at different points of time. We are seeing some advertisers using a scheduling strategy, where they are top funnelling consumers through TV in the initial weeks of the event and then getting into a narrow casting of communication for specific audiences in key markets using digital,” says LV Krishnan, CEO of TAM Media Research. He expects the total number of advertising categories to either come close to last season’s numbers or even surpass it.

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