The matches so far have received better-than-expected ratings compared with previous tournaments; however, a lot hinges on the Indian team
The cricket World Cup is good news for sports channels. But has it been as good as it was supposed to be?
Midway through the cup frenzy, sports channels look satisfied with the kind of ratings that are pouring in. Although, the indications are that it could have been much better. Now, after the defeat of the Indian team by South Africa on Saturday, much depends on India's encounter against the West Indies on Sunday.
NP Sathyamurthy, CEO, Karishma Initiative, said, "India matches have given an average TVR of 10-plus. It is evident that this year's World Cup has been viewed with much higher interest than in 2007." TVR stands for television viewer ratings which is a measurement of the popularity of a programme or advertisement in a target audience.
After India's disastrous performance in 2007 World Cup, which was cut short by the humiliating defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, fans and broadcasters were looking forward to better show this time round. But while India's performance cannot be described as stellar by any account, it has ensured enough ratings and advertising revenues to keep most people happy.
In 2007, the total 51 matches pulled an average of 2.06 TVR. This time, with a total 49 matches, the tournament has seen a top rating of 12.63 TVR, which is a huge improvement. Pratap Bose, CEO, Mudra Max, asserts that the ratings have been "higher than expected", with the India-Bangladesh and India-England matches garnering an average TVR of 9 and 12 respectively.
Overall, advertising revenues have been reasonably good. The broadcasters' strategy to give access to advertisers to most Indian matches has worked well and has generated good revenues. However, advertisers are worried that post India's loss to South Africa, the ratings may drop.
As it is, the kind of euphoria that erupted when India reached the finals in 2003 is missing. An analyst from Edelweiss said, "With India being the host, some more enthusiasm was expected. Cricket continues to be the most popular game in India, but the cup mania could have been more."
Where did cricket, 'India's secular religion', falter? The answer may lie in the Indian Premier League (IPL). It has been reported that advertisers have reserved investments for the IPL, which will follow later this year, as the tournament seems to be more popular with women. Some suggest that "too much cricket" has rubbed spectators the wrong way.
Sports channels that have failed to win broadcasting rights for either of these big events have been affected particularly badly. The worst sufferers are Zee Sports and Ten Sports (a part of Taj Entertainment Network in which Zee has a majority stake), who lost more than Rs100 crore in the December quarter, following the premature termination of broadcast rights for the Asian Games. The cricket Test matches and tournaments that these channels have hosted have had very few spectators.
However, media experts are not giving up hope yet. "In our estimation, the interest level will continue till 20 March 2011, when India plays the West Indies," Mr Sathyamurthy said. Heavyweight non-India matches that feature Pakistan, Holland, South Africa and the West Indies have also generated considerable interest and it is expected that they will also contribute to good ratings.
The RBI, which brought out a discussion paper in August last year on dispensing banking licences to business houses and NBFCs, received comments from all stakeholders. Reliance Capital, IndiaBulls, Religare, IL&FS, IFCI and Aditya Birla Financial Services are among those seeking to enter the banking space
New Delhi: The finance ministry has received draft guidelines on the new banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India, which is expected to make it public by the end of this month, reports PTI.
The guidelines are at a draft stage and no firm view on the paid-up capital and other issues has been taken, sources said.
The RBI is likely to issue guidelines for new banking licences by the end of the current fiscal.
"The RBI is planning to issue the guidelines for banking licences before the close of this financial year," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in the Budget speech last month.
After the finance minister's announcement in 2010-11 Budget, the RBI had brought out a discussion paper in August 2010 on dispensing banking licences to business houses and non-banking finance companies, besides regulations for the same to foster greater competition.
The RBI also sought to know "whether industrial and business houses could be allowed to promote banks." Further, it sought stakeholders' views on whether non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) should be allowed to convert into or promote banks.
The apex bank has received comments on its discussion paper from all the stakeholders.
Various entities like Reliance Capital, IndiaBulls, Religare, IL&FS, IFCI and Aditya Birla Financial Services are reportedly mulling entering the banking space.
At present, India has 27 public sector banks, seven new private sector banks, 15 old private sector banks, 31 foreign banks, 86 regional rural banks, four local area banks, 1,721 urban co-operative banks, 31 state co-operative banks and 371 district central co-operative banks.
Despite the Indian Navy’s success in combating the dreaded Somali pirates yesterday, leading players from both private and public companies are putting their security measures in place
Increasing intensity of Somali pirates' activities in the Gulf of Aden, one of the busiest trade routes in the world, and Indian waters has alarmed the government and ship-owners, and they have started taking various concrete steps to protect assets, and most importantly, save the lives of seafarers.
"Piracy is an international issue and it has been menacing the international shipping industry as well as the Indian shipping industry," S Hajara, chairman & managing director, Shipping Corporation of India Limited, told Moneylife.
Now, Somalia pirates have spread their operations in the west coast of the Arabian Sea, making Indian ships more vulnerable to their piracy operations. In a major development which proves the extent of piracy, yesterday, the Indian Navy arrested 61 pirates and rescued 13 sailors from captivity in the Arabian Sea, about 600 nautical miles west of India.
However, the nationalities of the pirates have not been disclosed yet. According to a report, in 2009, Somali pirates collected around $600 million in ransom.
To tackle this issue, ship-owners are taking some small but concrete steps such as increasing speed of vessels and creating strong-rooms for sailors when they are attacked.
"Whatever best market practices we have got, we are putting it to protect ships such as putting barbed wires on ships. Another step is (creating a) 'safe house'. One of the engine rooms or bridges is designated as a safe house, where, in case pirates board the ship, crew members gather and lock themselves, out of the reach of pirates, and guide the Navy to undertake a rescue operation," Anil Devli, chief executive officer, Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA) told Moneylife.
"We are not seeing any drop in shipping activities through piracy affected areas," added Mr Devli.
The government is also taking some serious security measures to protect ships from pirates. However, some intensive actions are needed, feel industry experts.
"Various measures have already been discussed in the Ministry of Shipping," Dr Satish B Agnihotri, Director General of Shipping, told Moneylife. However, he refused to offer any further comments.
"The Indian Navy has become very active in patrolling the seas. The Indian government should set up a north-south corridor along the Indian coasts, which will ensure that the corridor and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) are manned by our security force," added Mr Devli.
However, private owners' demand to allow guards with weapons has not been approved.
"The government is taking their own steps. We have asked the government for armed guards to be deployed on those ships which travel though piracy-affected areas, but nothing has come yet," Anjali Kumar, a spokesperson for Great Eastern Shipping Co Ltd, India's largest private sector shipping firm, told Moneylife.
"The company is also taking all safety measures for our ships," added Ms Kumar. However, she refused to share detailed information on the safety measures.
Piracy is not just a threat for the ship or its sailors; it is also proving expensive for companies as insurers are increasing premiums for insurance coverage.
"By taking safety and security measures on a large scale, we can demonstrate to the Joint Water Committee that the Indian Navy is extremely proactive and therefore, we can lower insurance premiums," said Mr Devli.
As piracy is an international concern, all countries, which have been facing the problem, should come together and tackle the issue, say industry sources.
"We look forward not to our government, but all countries' governments (being involved). The United Nations should ensure that international navigational passages are safe and secured," said Mr Hajara.
Though piracy activities are increasing, Indian seafarers have not been discouraged from pursuing this profession.
"Despite threat to lives, seafarers are venturing into pirate infested areas on the back of the high patrolling by the Navy," Abdulgani Y Serang, general secretary, National Union of Seafarers of India told Moneylife.
India should also take some lessons from Israel. Israeli ships are usually not attacked as they are always prepared to face pirates.
"Israeli seafarers, at their young age, are taught how to fight with pirates with weapons and protect oneself," added Mr Serang.