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Viacom18 bundles TV ad spots as value addition with CTV for WPL 2023

To buy a 10-second ad, an advertiser will have to shell out Rs 1-1.25 lakh for CTV and along with it, HD+SD TV ad spots will be bundled as value addition

In an industry-first, Viacom18 is prioritising Connected TV ad sales and bundling TV (HD+SD) as value addition while selling ad spots for Women’s Premier League.

To buy a 10-second ad, an advertiser will have to shell out Rs 1-1.25 lakh for CTV and along with it, HD+SD TV ad spots will be bundled as value addition. 

In a general scenario, a media right holder will sell TV ad spots and digital separately or in a package. But Viacom18 has taken a CTV-first approach when it comes to selling ad spots for the inaugural cricket tournament. 

Explaining the thought process behind doing so, a media head at one of India’s leading auto brands said that through this strategy, Viacom18 is trying to establish its CTV rates and this will give them an advantage for IPL and not WPL. 

“If the platform is able to establish the rate of Rs 1-1.25 lakh for WPL, it will be able to garner Rs 6-7 lakh rate for IPL. So, whatever numbers they will achieve via WPL on CTV, they can show the expected figures for IPL and the jump from Rs 1.25 lakh to Rs 6-7 lakh won’t be a challenge.”

Compared with IPL’s Rs 22 lakh per ten seconds across TV and CTV (Rs 16 lakh for TV + Rs 6 lakh for CTV), advertisers are finding WPL’s TV an affordable option at 1/20th cost of the men’s tournament.

The media head further said that because the IPL broadcast rights are with Star Sports and the digital rights are with JioCinema, the only way they (JioCinema) can make the most money from IPL is by selling CTV at a premium. 

“As it is the streaming of IPL on JioCinema is not behind a paywall. So, no money can be made through subscriptions,” the media head added.  

The 22-match WPL will begin March 4, 2023, at DY Patil Stadium. 

Viacom18 won the WPL media rights for Rs 951 crore (Rs 7.09 crore per match) for the 2023-2027 period. The acquisition cost that Viacom18 has invested, is 1/50th of what the men's IPL was sold for. The tournament will be broadcasted on Sports18 and streamed digitally on JioCinema. 

However, the major ad sales at Viacom18 for the tournament are happening in packages where Digital (CTV+Mobile+Web) and TV (SD+HD) are being sold together. 

Explaining how packages are being sold with an example, a media head at a large FMCG brand said, “Hypothetically if I want Rs 50 lakh spot buy package, Viacom18 is giving a combination where a CTV deal of 30 seconds per match is sold for Rs 25-26 lakh and the balance is put on mobile and web. That’s the construct for a Rs 50 lakh package for ad spot buying.”

If a person doesn’t want to buy the package and only mobile and web then the rates are Rs 200/CPM. 

Another media head at an FMCG brand commented, “Viacom18 is selling WPL ads in a package because there won’t be many takers of TV, digital and CTV separately as WPL is happening for the first time. Also, there is no valuation for the property as of now.” 

For the record, JioCinema ad rates for IPL 2023 range between Rs 200-300 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and Connected TV is Rs 6 lakh per 10 seconds.

It is to be noted that Disney+ Hotstar charged between Rs 159-199/CPM for regular midroll ads (Live+PPL Mobile) and CTV ad rates ranged between Rs 300-430/CPM for ten-second midroll ads on CTV in 2022.

Viacom18 hasn’t brought forth a separate package for regional language feeds and targeting.

“On the smart TV, there would be a button where one can click and change the language and camera angles as they have installed 32 cameras in the stadium - similar to what they did during FIFA,” said an expert close to the development. 

While it hasn’t been an easy journey for Viacom18 to onboard advertisers for WPL, it has managed to sail the boat given there hasn’t been any women’s sports property like WPL before. 

“Even the numbers for the recently held Women’s World Cup haven’t been that great. Although there were conversations around the India-Pak match, there too, the numbers weren’t great,” said a marketer who has bought ads on WPL. 

“It’s not easy to sell WPL. The start-ups, the ones who used to spend a lot on cricket are absconding. Last year most of the advertisers were startups,” said a media strategist at an agency. 

In total, “A property like WPL will develop over time. It is going to be like what ISL and Pro Kabaddi League have delivered. WPL will be more than regular women's cricket. In % terms, it would look very big. For example, if a regular women's cricket event is fetching 0.5 in ratings and WPL delivers 0.75 in ratings then they will say there is a jump of 50% in ratings. Absolute number wise it isn’t a significant number,” he added.

When WPL was announced, it was anticipated that the property would garner the interest of women-centric brands more to garner reach. 

“But the brands targetting women are advertising on WPL, not for reach but basis fitment,” commented a brand head of a women-centric brand. 

“Also, it’s not right to assume that WPL will be watched more by women. Sporting events are gender-agnostic,” added the brand head. 

There would be 22 matches in total. Advertisers are anticipating that while the initial matches won’t be that lucrative for a viewer, WPL will garner viewers' interest as the matches proceed. 

“After the tally table of the first match, the interest may grow from the second match onwards and up to finals, the interest would be decent enough,” said an industry observer.

As of now, Viacom18 hasn’t put forth any separate ad rate for the semi-finals and finals, a source shared this piece of information with BestMediaInfo.com.


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