It involves IPL inserting ads on big screen and showing it live on global feed

Advertisements between two balls may have irritated cricket aficionados during the 60-match DLF-IPL III. But it was at the suggestion of the suspended Indian Premier League chairman, Lalit Modi, that the airtime of 150 seconds was commercially exploited when the ball was not in play. The Board of Control for Cricket in India-IPL had the prerogative of using 150 seconds in each of the 60 matches to promote the league and franchise teams from season III. The BCCI-IPL broadcaster, Multi Screen Media (MSM), had a commercial right for 2,600 seconds in each of the completed 40-over matches, but following a revised agreement it inserted 150 seconds of advertisements on behalf of the BCCI-IPL over and above its entitlement.

A note prepared by the IPL office says: “The chairman suggested an innovation which could help commercially leverage 150 seconds. The innovation would involve IPL inserting the ads on the big screen and showing it live from the big screen on the global feed. After discussions with MSM, it was proposed and agreed that the BCCI-IPL will take this entitlement of 150 seconds as commercial airtime spots within an over of any match, but while the ball is not in play.”

The BCCI-IPL estimated revenue in excess of Rs. 30 crore (Rs. 4 lakh gross per 10 seconds x 150 seconds x 60 matches) and the chairman was authorised to find out suitable partners on a non-exclusive basis to convert the 150-second airtime into currency. The report prepared for the understanding of the BCCI says the matter was proposed for approval at the IPL governing council meeting on March 7 in Mumbai. It was at the same meeting BCCI president Shashank Manohar advised Mr. Modi not to open the Invitation to Tender (ITT) to ascertain two additional franchises for the expanded IPL IV season.

MSM pricing plan

On the basis of the MSM pricing plan, it was recommended to the chairman to monetise the 150-second inventory and market it to interested clients and agencies at no less than Rs. 4 lakh per 10 seconds. It was also suggested that any opportunity for a higher price should be capitalised.

A tender was not issued for this purpose, but as the report reveals, an advertising sale company, Pioneer Digadys, approached the IPL with three clients willing to pay well above Rs. 4 lakh per 10 seconds. Offers from the IMG and the MEC advertising were rejected because of their demand for free tickets. It is learnt that a beverage company, through its agency, offered Rs.7.5 lakh per 10 seconds for each of the league matches and at Rs. 8 lakh for the 3/4{+t}{+h} play-off matches.

The report, prepared by an IPL functionary, has told the BCCI that next year's IPL can generate a revenue of Rs. 90 crore, between Rs.700 crore and Rs. 900 crore from seasons VI to X and that a tender process should be followed from the next year. The report says Pioneer Digadys generated a revenue of Rs. 31 crore.

Quality problem

According to the confidential report, the experiment of commercial exploitation of 150 seconds, “had issues in the beginning with the quality of broadcast from the big screen being below acceptable standards and after repeated complaints from clients on the quality of broadcast, the innovation was tweaked further to broadcast from an LCD screen.” Since then the quality issues had been resolved.

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