Olympics ratings, revenue uneven in India

DD Sports channel attracts 74 mil viewers for Games

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NEW DELHI -- Indian statecaster Doordarshan said Monday that the Beijing Olympics –- telecast exclusively on the network’s DD Sports channel -- attracted 74 million viewers and earned $2 million (80 million rupees) in advertising revenues.

Including the telecast fees, industry estimates reckon DD spent about $4.25 million to cover the 17-day sporting event reflecting a financial loss.

DD is managed by the government’s broadcasting body Prasar Bharti whose CEO B S Lali explained, “During the previous Athens Olympics DD earned $1.25 million. We had big sponsors like Indian Oil Corporation which invested $500,000 while (motorcycle major) Hero Honda had put in $250,000. This time those kind of large sponsorships were missing. Yet, the number of advertisers that came in were much more.”

Major advertisers for the Beijing Olympics included Samsung, state telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Life Insurance Corporation, Maruti Suzuki, Indian Tobacco Co., milk products major Amul, Lenovo and the Ministry of Rural Development among other government departments.

Thanks to India’s historic win of its first individual gold and two other bronze medals, ratings figures for the closing ceremony -- at 30 million viewers according to ratings agency aMap --  topped this year’s biggest sporting event, the Indian Premier League cricket finals.