#EventEducationFestival: IPs - Changing the Game of Sponsorship

Industry Watch | July 6, 2021 | News

Whistling Woods International School of Event Management Zomato Live TribeVibe Entertainment Comic Con India BookMyShow

In conversation with moderator Kunal Khambhati, Head - Live events & IP, BookMyShow, at the second edition of ‘Event Education Festival’ organised by Whistling Woods International School of Event Management on 2 July 2021, Shoven Shah, Founder and CEO, TribeVibe Entertainment;  Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India; Chaitanya Mathur, Global Head, Zomato Live; Cyrus Gorimar, Director, Opium Events & Production talked about conceptualising sustainable IPs, how to make it economically viable, future of IPs in India and sponsorship and leveraging relationships. 

Sponsorship Key in IP Planning

Talking about how event managers look at sponsorship, Khambhati said, “Unlike other markets in the world, sponsorship plays quite an important role in the event economics of our intellectual property space. Unlike the US or the UK, especially in the live event space, whether it is experiences, music, drama, theater or sports, sponsorship tends to play a supporting role in terms of amplification, and maybe even provides some cost benefits to the event promoter. While in India due to the way we are poised with taxes and our customer ability to purchase tickets, sponsorship actually ends up playing a much, much bigger role, and accounts for a much bigger percentage in the overall P&L of an event.”

“In other European and American countries, we might be looking at somewhere close to 5 to 10 percent  of a sponsorship margin, and the rest comes from ticketing and ancillary revenues whereas in India, we range anywhere between, 20 to 70 percent, or maybe 100pc, in many cases. Sponsorship is a key part of the planning process when it comes to putting together an IP,” he added. 

Logo Presence v/s ROI on Spends

On Comic Con’s Sponsorship model, Varma said, “My aim is to make it less dependent on sponsors, because the past year has told us to reconnect a lot with our audiences, and obviously digitally. With all the effort and time and money spent on connecting with them digitally, which wasn't really great on the revenue side, but would pay off in having them come into our shows in larger numbers, even attracting new businesses from the exhibition side as well. And then our dependence on sponsorship can be where we can kind of choose who you want to associate with.” 

“I have a specific event, which already has a niche, so it has difficulty connecting with every brand. But now that we've kind of also polished up our digital outreach over the past one year, we feel that we might also be able to overcome that hassle. We would have a lot more to offer to someone coming into our shows, other than just an online presence. People don't really care about logo presence anymore as such, they care about some sort of an ROI on their spends. While we come out of this, I think that's going to be more relevant for a lot of brands,” Varma explained.

IP Advertising Model

Mathur shared his learnings from sponsorship while executing three seasons of Zomaland, starting with a three-city first edition.  He said, “What we learned with sponsorship was that gone are the days where somebody wants to see a newspaper ad. We realized OTT and digital was the way to go and that's what we did in the second season when we scaled this up from three cities to about 10. The kind of money that you could throw into newspaper advertising is something that was just obnoxious and if you put the same amount of money into digital advertising you get so much more.” 

Challenges of Large Format IPs Post Covid

“I really am not sure whether a festival will go back to the same format, whether they will get 20,000 to 50,000 people coming in every day. If a brand has to sponsor a festival, you need to get the brand on board at least a couple of months before the festival. You can't wait for the last day and that's the challenge I'm seeing. You cannot assume that you're doing a 20 crore festival on the assumption that brands will come to you at the last minute. You have to lock them in right at the start” said Shah.

“The challenge I'm seeing is whether consumers are going to be buying a ticket six months before or are they going to wait for the last moment.  People are always waiting for a free ticket in India. That's a problem and now there's even more chances of a consumer waiting for a free ticket. I think most of the larger festivals will have to move on to smaller formats, probably a hybrid format, or start off with a smaller format and then go back to a larger format” he added. 

Shoven Shah of TribeVibe Entertainment; Jatin Varma of Comic Con India; Chaitanya Mathur of Zomato Live; Cyrus Gorimar of Opium Events were in conversation with Kunal Khambhati of BookMyShow.

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