Friday, November 10, 2006

Mood I gets Rs 75 lakhs sponsorship: for what?

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.

Caveat emptor
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!


  1. I guess one reason to charge a nominal fees for the stay is because they want only people who really need to come and stay. In IIT Delhi there have been times when so many people have turned up for free stay that it becomes extremely difficult to provide it.
    But I guess Rs 400 is a bit too much but may be IIT Bombay can justify it.

  2. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Till everything happens in a free and fair way (read open market), there is no need to panic. Regarding the consequent, I am sure the fairness part is there to a large extent. Companies don't just believe in the numbers churned out by students. In order to get the sponsorship, the students have to show photographs/videos of the show they want sponsorship for. Also, after the fest, each sponsor is sent a CD with extensive video coverage of the event to assure them that they get what was promised. I know these for my IIT (Kharagpur), and am sure things won't be worse in IIT-B.

    Secondly, no-one who has some money in purse can claim immunity to advertisements. If you see an ad of a mobile service provider that shows lower call rates, longer validity, and bigger network, wouldn't you switch? or would you sit back claiming immunity? Agreed it is more difficult to effect changes in toothpaste, but again, I am sure the IITians aren't any better than the average educated populace.

    Also, often the advertisements are long-term, and not just limited to the fest. Take the case of a T-shirt having a company logo offered as a prize for winning some competition. The advertisement won't just stop after the fest gets over. Instead, the companies get an IIT "model" who will advertise their brand for an average of two days per week for the next two years. That's not too bad.

  3. 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!

    Any thoughts if the BPO's big boss is an IITB almnus? If yes, do all those scientific calculations you have given matter, even if we assume those are accurate?

  4. I think it is about time IITs get some recognition and local companies in India step up their marketing. Considering Bombay's standards of being expensive, IIT being a global phenomenon (I don't know how many within Indian realise this), 75 lakhs are definitely well deserved. If it is a BPO firm then they are targetting right audience - not the consumer of the firm but they act as consumers of potential businesses in the western world. If you can tag your name with world famous institution and I mean world-famous, every white guy in US engineering & business world knows of IITs and imagine to have your name taken with IIT (definitely worth the money spent).

  5. just wondering how did you come up with your 'guesstimates'? any basis to it? or thats what you 'felt like'? Its such an "in" thing to cook up stats at will. Sigh!

  6. Money earned during fest usually goes to student community and they have easier access to all money with government hurdles. They get better equipements and better facility.
    agree with vineet abt SRK argument.

  7. 1. IITB students are "immune" to advertising?

    2. Your guesstimates!!

    3. Local participants: Is that also not a guesstimate?

    4. Your "max 20,000" doesn't breakup into 4000+4000+4000. It needs around 8000 more people.

    5. Classical Nights attract non-college participants too.

    6. As someone already pointed out, the money is not just proportional to headcount but is also meant for brand association with "IIT" and "Mood Indigo".

    7. The advertising is usually long-term rather just for the duration of the fest. Coca-cola once ousted Pepsi from the IITB campus with their Mood Indigo sponsorship deal.

    8. Why is the amount "disconcerting"? Why can't it actually get "bigger and better"? Trilok Gurtu once reportedly charged Rs. 12 lakh.

    9. It's a free market, right? Sponsors decide what the worth is. I am sure you understand that even without your free advice, they do the maths.

    10. Mood-I Rocks :)

    Full Disclosure: Yes, I studied at IITB once. No, I was never involved with organising Mood-I.

  8. Anonymous10:40 AM

    ya i do understand that eye balls have been popping out by seeing this amont .but iitb deserves it ask any student of iiitb like me on thir campus and u would realize it'a at par with us colleges just that we lack funds for good and quality research ,once we get them we will be developing things that are as good as projects at US univesities and the mental abilitiest should never be in doubt.

  9. Well lots of decisions by advertisers do not have great logic. But some parts of your article are more rants...

    Firstly ..Mood I is the premier festival in Mumbai...It attracts more than aam random junta.. Their pro nites are still the best.

    The other problem is earlier the pro nites were largely done at nominal rates. Gone are the days when bands like Parikrama where born on these nites. Now its commmercial, so you need more sponsorship.

    In 2000 my engg college festival, a modest one cost Rs.5 lakhs. Multiply the scale by 5-6 times and factor in inflation and I think you would have found your answer.

  10. I think one should not complain of how much IIT Bombay is getting. If any other festival is not able to garner such funds, it's their problem. Let them market better, promote better and acquire more funds. The amount of effort and planning which goes into MI is much bigger as compared to other fests. The competitions and events organised are of better quality than other college fests atleast in Bombay.

  11. these fests are basically fund raising operations,

    IITM built their auditorium at a cost of over Rs 4 crore i think from the surplus funds collected for Saarang.

    as of 2005, IITM has collected around 90lakh for that years sarang, and there is a competition between the IITs to see who collects the largest amount, and as of now IITM seems to be leading the race

  12. How do you know that MoodI even collected Rs. 75 lakh. I mean, do u really think the IITB students would spill the beans. NO!!! They would rather wait till guesstimates are made(like the one above) and keep mum if the amount is = or > the collected amount. Or else they would look u in the eye and laugh..."U think Thats all?". Like "ada-paavi" put it there is this huge RACE kinda thing going on and no one wil accept it(paradox?)Disclosure : I am a student of IITM and i know for a fact that the total spons money is just known to a chosen handful.

    And Besides, from the gen image i dont think rendezvous(the iitd cul-fest)is right up there. Live a Saarang(;-) ).

  13. Anonymous8:44 PM

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  14. Anonymous3:15 AM

    well, logic doesnt work in business...thats why we have MBAs ...he he...

    anywho, any idea whos gonna perform ...

    with 75 lakhs ...can we expect Rahman? he he ...

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  16. Anonymous10:31 AM

    my parents work in the same college they once studied at. i remember them talking about how Rs 1 lac was such a big amount for the college fest budget. this was years back.

    while i strongly believe that setting the stage for such literary & cultural events is indeed a good thing, i wonder if there is a limit to the extravagance involved. if i really am a literary buff, i wouldn't be participating for the prize money, would i?

    75 lacs shocks me. and so do all the comments justifying it. brands like coke have been ravaging our natural resources to their own ends.

    75 lacs for a festival in a country where the educational scenario is so impoverished, one wil only know if one visits the hundreds of schools that don't even have basic infrastructure.

    i think all this only reflects on the changing values of our generation. everything today is measured in terms of 'whats in it for me'...god help us.

  17. Anonymous9:39 AM

    well, the time when I used to be in college's sponsorship chase team (oh, so long ago!), something that we used to pitch was the captive audience that OASIS enabled for 5 Days and Nights. It wasn't so easy for people to go to Delhi (5 hr. bus ride) and return for something else...

  18. You seem to have got your calculations wrong. I have attended Mood I for 3 years and I am not a Bombay student. Infact, there is a HUGE number of junta from Pune who go every year to Mood I. I have seen lots of people from faraway places like Hyderabad and Bangalore coming for Mood I. I think the Mumbai college goers are the worst represented at MI! Most of them return to their homes after sunset. The pronites attract only the IIT and outstation crowd (apart from Livewire).
    Infact, I made this observation last year in Mood I that only MI deserves sponsors shelling out money. All other college fests are just sponsored because of 'my-uncle-is-a-big-boss-in-xyz-company' reasons :)
    And yes, staying in Mumbai for 5 days at Rs 50 per night is not bad at all.

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  20. Ok guys. I am from IITM and an organiser for Saarang. Being an Mumbaiite I have seen that both Mood I and Saarang have their own charm. If u've come to both fests u'll realise that the glamour quotient is splendid at Mood I while Saarang events are seriously of the highest standards. No exaggerations but there have been people who have not qualified for the final rounds of events at Saarang repeatedly but won the same events at Mood I. This is anyway just an example and not to cite superiority or something. Free Mood I pronites are obviously a big advantage and at Saarang we do nominally price the ticket for security reasons.

    Anyways I guess in defence of all IIT fests I think the reason for the exponential rise in spons amounts is due to the need to maintain the reputation of the fest and to give that little bit extra every year. And growing market rates aren't helping us either. There are hundreds of ppl making a living out of entertainment and I think this is a chance for IITians to showcase their event mgmt skills. The experience just makes you a much much wiser person.

  21. help me in getting sponsors. i study in pesit-bangalore. our college fest "atmatrisha" is huge!!! but we really are in need of more sponsors to make it the best in the state. please help me...


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