Indian Premier League 10 has seen more uncertainties and hurdles than any other edition of the premier event. Most sellable stars are out with injuries. Board of Control for Cricket in India Committee of Administrators and IPL host associations were at loggerheads over payments. Teams are struggling to sell their inventory. Amidst all these uncertainties, Sony had vision and self-belief to aim big. The host broadcaster has set a Rs 1,300 crore target for IPL revenues. Mr Rohit Gupta, president, network sales and international business, Sony Pictures Networks, is smiling big now. Even before the first bowl is bowled in Season 10, SPN under the stewardship of Mr Gupta has surpassed its sales target. Under the prevailing circumstances, skeptics doubted SPN’S steep target. No Mr Gupta, who in an exclusive chat with InsideSport’s Arijeet Dutta declared the forthcoming season the best ever for SPN in term of revenues.
Inside Sport: Sony has set a target or Rs 1300 crore for IPL Season 10. How you are placed on that ?
Rohit Gupta – I am very happy, relieved and thrilled to tell you that we have already achieved our targets. The fort Rs 1300 crore has been scaled, targets achieved. The faith advertisers have shown in the property and SPN as network is heartwarming. We are completely sold-out. Normally we keep 10-15% of our inventory for the later stages of the event, but this time we are left just with some spots for semi-finals and finals, rest all is sold-out.
IS – What kind of growth & how many advertisers ?
Rohit Gupta – We were targeting 10-15% growth for Year 10 despite challenging circumstances and environment and we have achieved exactly 15% growth in terms of slot rates and more on overall kitty. The advertiser response is absolutely stunning. In comparison to 12 sponsors last year – we have got 14 sponsors this year. Vivo, Vodafone & Amazon our Co-Presenting sponsors and Ceat, Vimal Pan Masala, Yamaha, Yes Bank, Parle Agro, Polycab, Voltas, Havells, Make My Trip, Parle Biscuits, Maruti Suzuki has taken associate sponsorship category. Each of our associate sponsor has pledged 120 seconds for each game.
IS – How is the response on HD as category.
Rohit Gupta – Phenomenal. This category has grown to almost 50%. We were selling HD Spots in YEAR 9 for Rs 1 lakh and this year we are selling it for almost Rs 2 lakh per spot on our HD feed.
IS – Because of the ongoing tussle between BCCI officials and Supreme Court appointed CoA and other uncertainties, were there any apprehensions in the market ?
Rohit Gupta – I must tell you IPL is very well established and strong property. Whatever happens behind the curtains or in governance doesn’t bother the advertiser much. Advertiser looks for ROI and IPL delivers ROI to them. They come to IPL because they are sure and confident about the deliveries of the product i.e IPL and the platform SPN.
IS – SPN has just acquired TEN SPORTS. Can we see some IPL integration happening on TEN Sports?
Rohit Gupta – Set Max & SONY SIX strategy has worked very well for us, we would not like to disturb it for now. All IPL programming will be restricted to the same channels.
IS – Can we say in terms of revenues this will be the best year for SPN?
Rohit Gupta – By far the best year, no doubts about it. We don’t have any room left as all inventory is sold out, if we would have some spots left we could have crossed 1400 CR. Yes very pleased with the clocked Rs 1300 cr and yes by far our best year.
Sony’s success at this rate is phenomenal considering the fact some franchisee had to reduce the value of their title sponsorship and couple of them have not been able to announce a tie-up with less than 48 hours for the curtain to raise from the premier cricketing event