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Telcos may spend only half of last year’s outlay on ads during cricket world cup: Media planners


India’s top telcos – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – are expected to limit media spending in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, media planners said, adding their cumulative spends for the festive season could well be around half of the ₹350 crore they spent last year.

The World Cup, which coincides with the Diwali season this year, will form part of the media plan, but may be restricted to digital activations and point-of-sale promotions, as opposed to mainline television campaigns with only two meaningful telecom advertisers in the market and the need for aggressive high-cost marketing being low, they added.

However, the longer festive season – September end to December end – may see the telcos loosen their purse strings, especially if 5G smartphone shipments show signs of pick-up.

“We observe that the telecom industry did not invest significantly in the past year, and even the smartphone market is anticipated to launch multiple campaigns, resulting in an upswing in demand for telecom services. If demand remains high, they (telcos) will undoubtedly increase their spending,” said Tanmay Mohanty, chief executive, Publicis Media Services, a media agency group.
For context, companies like Hindustan Unilever and Mahindra and Mahindra are each expected to splurge between ₹150-₹160 crore in advertising money on television and digital telecast alone during the event.

Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea did not respond to ET’s queries till press time.

When it comes to the World Cup, the telcos are expected to limit themselves to digital activations and partnerships, which could be extensions of ongoing deals with television and digital telecast partners, in this case, Star Sports and Disney+Hotstar.

“For the World Cup, the main spenders will be the ICC (International Cricket Council) commercial partners, and the telcos are not part of that group of advertisers/sponsors. Moreover, the World Cup is an expensive property and with just three players, the high-cost advertising platform will not be preferred right now,” a media planner said.



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