TOI reports: Mood Indigo - which is due to take place from Dec 26-29 - has garnered a healthy Rs 75 lakh sponsorship so far. This outstrips the nearest rival, IIT Delhi by 50%.
I find this news a bit disconcerting. I mean, just last year, Mood I created a record by attracting Rs 50 lakhs in sponsorship money. As recently as 2002, Mood I made do with Rs 34 lakhs sponsorship. Now, with more than double the budget in 4 years, how much 'bigger and better' can we expect it to get?
The USP of IIT fests over local college fests is the pro-nites, where students can expect top quality artistes to perform. eg Indian Classical Nite, Indipop Nite, Professional Play performance and LiveWire, the rock competition where pro bands also perform. There are artiste fees as well as light, sound and stage costs.
Mood I also gives better cash prizes (Rs 3 lakhs) last year.
So yes, a Mood I certainly requires a bigger budget than say, a Malhar or an Umang. But in 2002 - with Rs 34 lakhs - we had a successful Mood I. Take inflation into account, or the desire to do something more, and I can see the budget going up by 10-20%.
This 50% jump in a single year? Astounding.
Now IIT Bombay can very well say hey, if sponsors are willing to pay us this money, what's your problem? So here's a bit of free advice to these companies - do take a more careful look at what exactly you are buying.
While Mood I may be the college fest with the most extravagant scale, does it really deliver on numbers. The organisers claim it attracts 50,000 students a year. But how true is that claim?
Overall, I would estimate at max 20,000 unique visitors. Break up as follows:
IIT- B students : 4000 in number and fairly immune to advertising. (and 10-20% 'go home' during the fest period!).
Outstation participants: 3000-4000 in number (my guesstimate, and this is on the generous side).
Local participants: 3000-4000 per day. More on the day of Livewire.
The local participation is where Mood I miserably fails to make an impact. Ask a random college student if he/ she is going to Mood I and chances are you will hear the answer "no".
Various reasons given:
- IIT is too far
- It's the fag end of the year - already attended many fests
- We're having vacations
- The place is not so happening during the day
Of course, die hard fest types do attend, esp those into literary events. And pro nites attract crowd, but again in limited numbers. The 'aam' college student whom sponsors would like to connect with are more likely to have attended the likes of Malhar, Umang or their own college festival.
Never mind if it did not attract folks from all over India, or even all over the city. But 5000-6000 eyeballs are there to be addressed and you can be the title sponsor of 15-20 such festivals for Rs 75 lakhs.
With the same money you can reach out to over 1 lakh students - 5 times what I estimate you reach through Mood I. And these are students who are more brand conscious, who spend more on everything from cellphones to branded apparel. College name be damned.
Yet sponsors would rather plonk their money with a single prestigious festival.
So, good for IIT Bombay. And good luck to the BPO company which is one of the major sponsors of Mood I. Coz I doubt if anyone attending Mood I fits their target audience!
Lastly, I am under the impression that all the money raised towards IIT fests is used towards the event organisation. That's how it used to be. Maybe times have changed and some of the cash goes in the institute corpus, towards improving infrastructure etc.
In which case it's festival as an excuse for fund raising - fair enough. However, that's not the impression one gets from the TOI report.
One final observation: I noticed from the Mood I website that outstation participants are being charged for their accomodation. The deposit for the 'mattress and bucket' is Rs 400, of which Rs 100 is refundable if you leave on the specified date and without damaging any property.
You also have to pay for your own food, at a nominal rate, but never the less.
Pataa nahin bhai, jis zamaane mein hum outstation fests mein jaate the... we paid for nothing more than our train tickets. Guess 'hospitality' is not dependent on how big your budget is!