With IPL broadcaster SET MAX continuing to charge a premium on advertisements, the T20 league is becoming a game of a select big advertisers with others looking for alternate options elsewhere, according to marketers and media buyers.
While the likes of Vodafone still swear by IPL, others like Canon think "IPL is losing mass appeal" and it is time to look elsewhere. Major sponsors DLF and Karbonn are already evaluating options on their future association with the IPL with their contracts coming to an end this season.
"There is a clear indication that IPL is losing mass appeal and advertisers are reduced. IPL is becoming the game of a select few (big advertisers) and others will have to find alternative ways to reach out to consumers," Canon India Senior Vice President Alok Bharadwaj said.
He said Canon India, which plans to spend Rs 30 crore on a new advertising campaign featuring its new brand ambassador Anushka Sharma, will earmark only 10 per cent of it for IPL.
"Compared to what we spent last year, we are spending only 20 per cent of that budget on IPL this year...there is no way to predict return on investment in IPL. It is partly gamble and partly gut feel," he said.
Presenting an opposite view, a Vodafone India spokesperson said: "IPL has been and remains the biggest sports platform to reach out to our target customers...Re-evaluation, if any, of our on-air sponsorship, has been only to get a better bang for our buck on the property keeping in mind its past performance."
While stressing that the IPL is still the biggest mass- media property in the country and gives the advertisers a very effective platform, the Vodafone India spokesperson, however, said: "As regard to next year, it is too premature for us to get into that discussion. However, please note that our decisions will be based on commercial feasibility".
As different brands weigh the pros and cons of their association with IPL, owner of SET MAX - MSM India - that has the official broadcast rights for the league, said it still attracts a mix of advertisers.
"In terms of advertisers' portfolio, it is a mix of big and small spenders," MSM India President Network Sales Rohit Gupta said.
Admitting that there has been a hike in ad rates, he said: "We have not offered any discount, but charged a little higher than last year".
While Gupta did not share the rates, media planners said the broadcaster is charging Rs 5 lakh for a ten second spot.
Insisting that there has been good response from advertisers, he said: "We have sold around 80 per cent of the ad inventory and remaining would be sold over a period of next two months, which is usual."