The inaugural Airtel Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida was the most viewed F1 race in India ever, according to viewership data available from rating agency TAM.
Broadcast exclusively on ESPN-Star Sports in the country, the Indian leg of the Formula One GP garnered six times more TVR compared to any other Formula One race broadcast in the country.
1 Taking the average TVR of all the GPs completed till now as 100 points, Indian GP scored 725 points. The most popular F1 race, Malaysian GP 2011, held on April 10, on the other hand scored only 183 points. The Australian GP and the Singapore GP scored an average of 178 and 78 points each respectively. The sample includes viewers aged four and above in the cable and satellite homes across the country. The race also garnered three times more television rating than the previously highest rated race, which was the Malaysian Grand Prix this year.
Commenting on the increase in viewership, Satyajit Sen, chief executive officer, ZenithOptimedia, said, “While nationality is a big connect, what works is the entire build-up of the news - almost like an integrated campaign. There is a build-up of the anticipation by media - coverage and conversations. We have seen the same work at IPL which was also built up like an orchestrated campaign especially in the first year. As the consumers sample the first episode, there are conversations and controversies which keep the intrigue going.”
2 On the other hand, Prashant Singh, director, Octagon feels that in the upper demographics, there was much talk about the race as well as viewership caused by knowing at least one friend/relative who was attending. He also noted that the gain works, albeit on a smaller scale, with Malaysia and Singapore as well. Moreover, in the media and marketing industries, access to free tickets was high and media and marketing professionals are great for generating buzz.
3 While the media hype, supported by brand promotions was cited as one more reasons for the increased viewership by industry experts, ZenithOptimedia’s Sen agreed that Indian brands have definitely cashed on the ‘new news’ of the Indian GP. “The buzz was fresh, relevant and exciting, especially for brands like Airtel. What I thought interesting was that their F1 communication was interspersed between the ‘Har friend zaroori hota hai’ campaign, while the F1 campaign did not have to conform to the brand campaign. This is the new communication spectrum we will be seeing where every communication need not necessarily stretch into a theme campaign but diverse campaigns will add into a whole,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Singh feels that Indian brands did poorly during the Indian GP. “There was a noticeable absence of on-ground activation and the use of tickets as gratification. Brands which did well include Airtel (title sponsors), and, funnily, Zoom and MTV. Kingfisher didn’t do much, Jaypee, which had invested so much, failed miserably to tell the world what they did. Base, a battery manufacturer, did okay with their F1-related commercial,” he added.
4 According to a post-event report released by MindShift Interactive, “Airtel was the most spoken about brand in the social media landscape due to the number of campaigns and their brand integration with F1. An online-offline connect along with a heavy and sustained engagement were key to their success.”
Digital campaigns initiated by Airtel include ‘Airtel Grid Girls’ and ‘Ultimate Race Game’, while ‘Simulator Challenge’ was the offline campaign surrounding the inaugural Indian GP. Renault, Red Bull, Vodafone and Kingfisher were the other brands popular in the social media space during the race period.
Commenting on the impact of the social media conversation on television viewership, Mindshift Interactive’s Zafar Rais said, “When we checked the social media data through the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) model, more than 5% of the audience tracked by us on social media got converted to purchase tickets or view the race on television.”
What it means for...
One more sport to bet on, at least once every year
Ability to create an online-offline connect through 360-degree campaigns
A new sport to generate content from
Possibility to get on board new category of sponsors