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Non-cricket sports are also becoming very important for advertisers: Rohit Gupta

As the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 gathers momentum, with only a few days to go for the start of one of the most prestigious events in the world, Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN), along with many luminaries from diverse fields, have undertaken a ‘Best Wishes Initiative’ to rally the support of the nation for the Indian contingent.

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According to a new global 28-market survey by Ipsos, globally, urban Indians are most enthused about the upcoming Olympics across all 28 markets.

While the Tokyo Olympics continue to be a significant driver of growth in Linear TV ad spends in the APAC (3.9% increase in 2021 to reach $59.2 billion), the dentsu data suggests a shift towards CTV (Connected TV) and OTT (Over The Top) and audiences moving more towards digital media consumption, thus signifying that Linear TV spend will remain below pre-pandemic levels until beyond 2021.

To know more about how brands are focusing on the Olympics for advertising as well as SPSN’s strategy for the Games and also the growing advertiser interest in non-cricket sports, Adgully reached out to Rohit Gupta, Chief Revenue Officer - Ad Sales and International Business, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

Who are the sponsors that have come on board for the Tokyo Olympics 2020?

There is a huge interest in non-cricket sports from the brands, we saw this especially in UEFA EURO for which we got tremendous advertiser response, and now for the Tokyo Olympics as well. The Olympics is also a very prestigious event, which brands want to be associated with. Despite COVID-19 and other challenges, we have got more than the expected number of brands and sponsors on board for the Olympics. There is definitely a huge interest in the Tokyo Olympics. 

Coming after a year when no events, sports included, could be held due to COVID-19 (except IPL 2020), what has the advertiser response been for the Tokyo Olympics 2020?

The advertisers’ response has been fantastic, not only for the Olympics, but overall. As I said earlier, the Olympics is a very prestigious event, and if you see, India’s contingent is also getting bigger, the Indian players are doing well in their respective categories, so obviously there is a huge interest. Basically, what happens with sports is that most advertisers want to target the U/A 18-28 category, and that is the most difficult audience to capture on TV or any other social media, because this audience is floating around, and they jump from one genre to another or one platform to another. On the other hand, the engagement on sports is huge, that is why the advertisers find a way to target this audience, and the Olympics being a prestige tournament, it fits in very well in the advertisers’ strategy. 

What are the ad rates that Sony Pictures Sports Network has set for the 2020 Games?

Unlike cricket, there are no ad rates in the Olympics, there are packages. These differ in India from match to match, day to day. What you do is, you sell packages as it is over so many days, so there is no inventory issued on this unlike cricket. Roughly our packages vary from Rs 3 crore to Rs 8 crore, depending on what level of sponsorship a person comes for, associates or co-presenting, so that is the kind of advertisements brands are looking for. 

As per media reports, the Rio Olympics 2016 garnered viewership of approximately 191 million in India. How is Sony Pictures Sports Network strategising to shore up the viewership for the Games this year?

We are using the whole network. We are promoting the Games across our network channels, SonyLIV is going to come in a big way, because there are so many sports happening at the same time. 

The UEFA Euro and Copa America tournaments recently concluded. What was the advertiser response for both the tournaments? Could you share the respective overall viewership numbers for both?

The ratings were around double related to the last EURO 2016. 

What were the key takeaways from UEFA Euro and Copa America in terms of sports broadcasting as well as advertiser sentiments in pandemic times?

Non-cricket sports are also becoming very important for advertisers, and the advertisers’ response was tremendous. We had brands who were willing to pay Rs 8 crore to Rs 10 crore on football. These are prestigious events that happen once in four or five years, whereas you have one match of cricket every two months. So, most brands are interested in being associated with these events.

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