25 August 2004, Singapore: As sport continues to drive out of home (OOH) viewing across Asia, sponsors on ESPN STAR Sports are enjoying higher brand recall and brand recognition through the network’s strategy of creating innovative 360-degree integrated solutions-based packages around key sports programming on its channels.

Since 2002, ESPN STAR Sports has led the way in integrated advertising by pioneering the shift from commodity-based to solution-based advertising. In fact, sponsors are seeing a positive impact on their brands through the ESPN STAR Sports model of taking real-time live sporting action to the viewer while developing the platforms for an expanded sporting experience. This has proven an excellent complement to the broadcast for sponsors.

This was reinforced during the second expanded OOH viewing research conducted in key Asian cities earlier this year. The survey undertaken by Synovate and commissioned by ESPN STAR Sports was conducted to gauge OOH viewing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok and was expanded to include the cities of Shanghai and Beijing.

Said Greg Hayes, Senior Vice-President, Advertising Sales and Multi-Media Ventures, ESPN STAR Sports, ‘It’s been success story after success story with creative executions built around the network’s integrated strategy encompassing on air, off air, on ground and multi-media marketing. When applied to the out of home viewing environment, these integrated campaigns engage, entertain and interact with viewers via our programming content and integrated offerings, and creates an experience that has sports fans wanting more. When viewers enjoy themselves in these out of home situations, they have tended to better recall the brands associated with our programming.’

Among the brands that enjoyed higher recall and brand recognition were sponsors of the network’s English Premier League broadcasts – Tiger, Toshiba and Nokia.

The integrations initiated by ESPN STAR Sports have also become advertising entities in their own right with concepts such as ‘Man of the Match’ or ‘Goal of the Week’.

Nokia, for example, used an approach that enabled viewers to participate in competitions using technologies found in Nokia cell phones such as MMS and WAP. The phone giant scored a hat-trick with a three-fold interactive solution – Nokia Man of the Match, Nokia Fantasy Football and Nokia Spot the Ball- all of which involved interactive participation by Nokia phone users.

Says Pasi Javenpaa, Director, Mobile Phones Marketing, Nokia Asia Pacific, ‘We are very pleased with this partnership with ESPN STAR Sports so far. We were able to communicate the full benefits of mobile technology to bring the world of technotainment to diverse audiences in a
fun and interactive way. We are looking forward to leveraging on other possibilities with ESPN STAR Sports.’

Continued Hayes, ‘The strategy has taken on the form of integrated multi-level events and activities, regional and localized promotions and communications. While we’ve touched and connected with viewers at various points and converted fringe sports fans into active viewers, we’ve also ensured our sponsors are a large part of that experience.’

Apart from showing positive benefits for clients, the OOH survey also revealed that 88% of all those surveyed watched out of home, with a staggering 9 out of 10 watching out of home in cities such as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The spontaneous OOH choice of programming was sport at 73%. (Spontaneous +aided = 87%)

96% of respondents who watched sport OOH indicated football was their sport of choice led by the English Premier League (84%), with the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup showing healthy growth averaging at around 44% and 30% respectively.

The findings also suggest that over 60% of viewers are missed out by traditional in-home meter systems across the six-city study, with the figure climbing to 82% in Bangkok.

Not surprisingly, sport continues to dominate in-home viewing as well – peoplemeter ratings consistently show the ESPN STAR Sports network far and ahead of all cable programming including news, action, movie, documentary and music channels (source : Peoplemeter).

For further information, please contact:

Stephenie Vasko, ESPN STAR Sports tel: (65) 6488 6126 or email: vaskos@espnstar.com
Cheryl Sim, ESPN STAR Sports tel (65) 6488 6123 or email simc@espnstar.com