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DTH News : SET Max plans telethon for IPL player auctions
The channel will also present analysis of the auctions, interviews with team owners and eminent guests during the lunch and tea breaks.

Entertainment broadcaster SET Max is set to repeat mesmerising election-day television coverage. Only this time, it will be for the results of an upcoming auction of cricket stars for the ten-franchise Indian Premier League season 4 (IPL-4) .

The 18-hour marathon starting Saturday will telecast the bids for over 350 players, with Gaurav Jain providing sound bites from team owners. The auction will be followed by a special studio-based wrap-up show hosted by Samir Kochchar. On both days, a star-studded team of cricket analysts and Test stars like Ayaz Menon, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Arun Lal will take viewers through the rules and regulations of the IPL and the auction.

Besides, the channel will present analysis of the auctions, interviews with team owners and eminent guests during the lunch and tea breaks.

Media planners say that with about 180 minutes of advertising space on sale, the channel has already hiked its advertising rates for the programme to around Rs 30,000 for a ten-second spot - three times a normal daytime slot.

Sudha Natrajan, president & chief executive officer, Lintas Media Group, said: "There would be a lot of viewer interest in the auction. IPL is India's most successful sporting property and a lot of viewers would be tuning in to watch which franchise would pick up their favourite players."

Planners say due to its association with cricket, film stars and glamour (Shah Rukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta are all team owners), they expect TRPs to be high. "We expect TRPs to be around 0.7-1.0, which is good considering it is a long programme. Good Test matches in which India plays like in South Africa give TRPs of 1," adds Natrajan.

However, other planner says SET Max is negotiating with its IPL-4 advertisers - they include Micromax Mobile, Samsung and LG - a pitch that would make them part of the auction broadcast on payment of a bit more.

"It is an interesting property and, if it can be sustained, would be something that more companies could take advantage of next year," said a media planner, who has been approached by SET Max.

While SET Max won't talk, it is believed that Vodafone has been roped in as a sponsor, while others that have taken spots include Procter & Gamble and Karbonn Mobile. Samsung executives said they are still in talks with the channel.

SET Max, which has the broadcast rights to IPL-4 matches, is expecting to cash in on the great auction jamboree. Says Rohit Gupta, head of sales at SET Max: "Since it is a two-day event, we are not roping in sponsors, but are selling spots. The response so far has been very good and we are close to finalising the deals." This is the first time that the channel will telecast the IPL auction live.
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