If you watch the low sidebars that appear on your television screen during the course of the matches, an innocuous pop up comes up intermittently. The tag line of the pop up says ” If you want to get in touch with the cheer leaders, send an SMS on a particular number and the SMS would cost Rs. 10″. It indeed is an imaginative ploy to make the hay while the sunshines, i.e. the telecommunication companies, have devised a novel plan to increase their revenue.
The cheerleaders who display their antics during the course of the matches indeed draw eyeballs, and as the average Indian has a penchant and a fancy for white skin of the female, the telecommunication companies are trying to encash this penchant. But is it not hitting below the belt? The communication companies are not informing at all what would be the next stage in this match making, i.e. after a SMS has been sent by a viewer on a number, how will the cookies crumble subsequently.
There is a sense of crassness associated with this initiative. It could have been made sophisticated if the campaign could have designed to vote for the best cheerleader during a match and the telecommunication companies would have made windfall profits, but one does not know why this idea did not strike the creators of this initiative? Indeed, it can still be dovetailed in such a manner and these companies would find that they have really had their coffers full, and the loss of assets that they have experienced on account of dwindling of fortunes at the stock market, could be compensated to a great extent by this initiative.
An abortive initiative of such kind was attempted in the second chapter of the IPL in South Africa, where the viewers where induced to make betting on each ball that was being bowled in the match. As it was a blatant attempt to encourage betting, the government had to clamp down on this initiative. But by the time the initiative was clamped down, the telecommunications companies were able to make handsome gains.
The present initiative is yet to reach the proportions as it had reached in the second season of the IPL, and may be it needs to fine-tune its efforts. The sooner it is done, the better it would be for the companies, as also for the telecasters as viewers interest would be riveted in the match to vote for the cheerleaders.
By: Suman Rai