It's just not
advertising during match telecasts had fans furious, reports Ruwanthi
love their cricket. And we had our fill of it last month as the
ICC Champions Trophy matches brought the world's best teams to our
doorstep. All those who couldn't get to the stadiums to see the
action 'live' were glued to their TV sets, determined not to miss
even a single ball.
matches now come with an attachment. Anyone watching a match has
to put up with endless advertisements that appear at every important
point. Be it at the end of an over or at a crucial moment when a
bowler screams 'Howzzat?', the screen suddenly changes and a child
enjoying a glass of milk appears. This is followed by an advertisement
of the latest in building materials and then appears the ideal pen
to answer your examination papers with.
much they cost
The advertising rates for the ICC tournament held last
Preliminary matches if
Sri Lanka was playing: Rs. 50,000 per 30 second spot
Semi-finals: Rs. 55,000 per 30 second spot
Finals: Rs. 60,000 per 30 second spot
Scroll ads: 15 words
Preliminaries - Rs. 7,500
Semi-finals and finals - Rs. 10,000
Animated ads: 10 seconds
Preliminaries - Rs. 12,500
Semi-finals and finals - Rs. 15,000
is this? "Very," grumbled one cricket fanatic. "You
switch on the TV hoping to watch the match and you get nothing but
ads on the screen. Also, there are countless logos adorning the
screen, not to mention various messages that walk past the pitch
as the batsman is getting ready to face the next ball. It's infuriating."
"When we watch the cricket at home, as soon as the ads come
on, we get up to grab a snack or run to the bathroom. So there really
is no one watching them," says Mr. R. Perera.
Viewers complain that thanks to the shocking amount of advertisements
and spots on the screen even vital details like the cricketers'
statistics are obscured. "One logo in particular covered the
score nearly all the time during the last tournament and it was
extremely irritating to watch," commented one irate viewer.
concede that without the ads, there would be no telecast. It is
after all, an expensive procedure to televise matches 'live,' and
the TV station screening the match has to cover its costs through
But at what
And how effective is this method of advertising?
negative advertising," says Clautilda Arockiam, the Client
Service Director at LDB Lintas (Pvt.) Ltd., a leading advertising
agency. "The entire screen is cluttered with logos and brand
names and the viewers are more likely to be irritated by the ad.
The cost for broadcast is, of course, exorbitant. But there should
be steps taken to reduce overcrowding."
House of Advertising agrees. "Advertising should be unobtrusive.
It is true that the TV stations have to cover costs and make a profit
but should it be at the expense of the viewer? Each slot should
be given the right number of advertisements. Nothing more. You cannot
use five ads during the time allocated for one."
Mr. Nimal Wickramanayake
of the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing says that it is up to the
stations to end the havoc.
is one method that can reduce this. That is to increase the price
of advertising slots. Then very few will be interested in advertising
at a given time. The TV companies will be able to cover their costs
and the advertisers will be happy."
State TV Rupavahini
screened the Champions Trophy matches. So how do other stations
view the issue? "Excessive advertising is an irritant for the
viewer, and the viewer is king," says Mr. M. Wickramanayake,
Group Director of Maharajas, which is the parent company of MTV,
another provider of cricket entertainment. "What we do is wait
for the commentator's cue and then cut to an advertisement. It should
not last more than sixty seconds. Once the advertisement is over,
we switch back to the commentary.
usually a static picture of the scorecard or the pitch available
to cut into. Good content rules. And that is what the viewer wants."
But Mr. Wickramanayake
admits that MTV too is not perfect. "We all have our flaws.
But when an ad overrides play, we try to cut back in. We too have
received a number of letters regarding this issue and try to rectify
He also says
that bidding and overbidding for broadcast rights have resulted
in such situations.
are excessively expensive and the only method of covering one's
costs is by encouraging advertisers. "I've tried a number of
times to form an association of private television broadcasters.
By doing so we can reach a collective agreement as to exactly how
much we'd pay the marketers of the broadcasting rights.
payment will thereby be not as excessive and help reduce the number
of advertisements that have to be screened."
Mr. Wickramanayake, there are three main TV companies that are approached
when a tournament comes around: Rupavahini, MTV and Swarnavahini.
Manager cum News Director at Swarnavahini Mr. Rosmand Senaratne,
felt that the situation arises due to the marketers of cricket charging
exorbitant sums for the sale of rights.
difficult for the media organisations to strike a balance. It is
definitely not fair by the viewers but the advertisers who ultimately
pay for the coverage want the mileage.
"It is not possible for the media company to discourage advertisements.
Whilst being annoying to the viewers, it is a necessary commodity.
But the station should be careful as to when they place the ads.
It is unthinkable to place an ad when the ball is hit towards the
boundary line at a crucial moment."
Additional Director General Mr Upali Arambewela is quick to point
out that his station did respond to viewer's concerns. "We
instructed our operators to cut in only after the sixth ball and
errors are inevitable. While apologising for any inconvenience caused,
none of the instances were deliberate.
the statistics appeared, we would drag the logos on screen to the
farthest corners." Asked what other alternatives the SLRC had
in mind for future cricket broadcasts, Mr. Arambewela spoke of a
new technology that will help with the delay factor. By doing so,
the entire match will seem uninterrupted.
the authorities say they will take, the damage has been done. Viewers
are plainly disgusted with the number of advertisements they are
made to endure and the quantity of advertisements that monopolise
sports events is growing year by year.
It's time TV
stations rethink their policies and give the cricket loving public
a better picture.