Why don’t Miss Universe have huge cash prize for winners?

Maeva Coucke wins Miss France 2018

Newly crowned Miss France Maëva Coucke will now join the long list of incredible women who have held the title of Miss France previously. For the last few weeks the prize package of Miss France has been making waves around the internet. It also ignited a debate that Miss France might actually be giving a better prize package to its winners as compared to international pageants like Miss Universe. Although on paper it does seem like Miss France gives way better prizes to its winner than Miss Universe, there are many other factors that play role in determining the actual worth of winning a title like Miss Universe. So, what are the reasons for comparatively moderate cash prize of Miss Universe? And what are the real benefits of winning an international title?

Scattered Audience

Even though over half a billion viewers watch the Miss Universe pageant every year, the viewership of the pageant it very scattered. Think about it this way: you own a cosmetic company in India and want to advertise your brand for Indian audience. Then will you prefer sponsoring a TV show which has more viewership in India or will you sponsor a show that has more viewership in some other foreign country? Obviously, one will prefer advertising their brand in a way that it reaches maximum people among the target audience. What’s the use of promoting your brand in a country where your business doesn’t have any presence. Hence sponsorship related matters of the international pageants or rather any international event are very tricky. The sponsors you see during the final telecast of the Miss Universe pageant are mainly the sponsors for the pageant’s telecast in the United States. MUO earns revenue by selling TV rights of the pageant to broadcasters in various countries. And then those broadcasters rope in sponsors from their respective countries. Because of this, despite having tremendous number of sponsors globally, we only notice the ones who have sponsored the pageant either in the US or in the host country. On the other hand, you have events like Miss France which have estimated viewership of over 8 million. Majority of these 8 million people belong to the same nationality, the same linguistic group and the same cultural background making them an easy target audience for potential sponsors. And hence on a bird’s-eye view we see more sponsors for National pageants like Miss France as compared to international pageants.

Why don't Miss Universe have huge cash prize for winners?

Intangible prizes

On paper the international pageants show bare minimum cash and kind prizes. These prizes do not include a huge benefit which the title holders such as Miss Universe get and that is the media exposure. As per a study conducted by Washington Economics Group Inc. which analysed the Miss Universe 2014 held in Doral Miami, the 3-hour telecast of Miss Universe itself generates media exposure worth $30.5 million. The year long promotion of its title holder provides her with media exposure worth way more than that. This also gives the winner of Miss Universe a unique opportunity to make money for herself too. Now, the amount of money a Miss Universe can make out of this exposure completely depends on the personal abilities and talents of that girl. Miss Universe winners like Ximena Navarrete have earned millions of dollars through brand endorsements and appearances; while some winners like Olivia Culpo have earned comparatively less. The winners do earn considerable amount of name, fame and money through the Miss Universe title even though the cash prize for winning might be lesser.

Laws and Regulations

Sum won as part of contests like Miss Universe are considered under the same bracket as winnings from game shows and lotteries for legal and taxation purposes. The tax rates applicable for such lumpsum prize are much higher than the regular tax rates. Hence both Miss universe and Miss World pageants refer to their winners as their employees and give salary to their titleholders instead of a lumpsum prize.

Why don't Miss Universe have huge cash prize for winners?

Representation by the organisation

Apart from other monetary and non-monetary benefits, international pageant organisers also provide professional representation to their winners. Miss World Org has been known to use its contacts in entertainment industry for giving better opportunities to the title holder. Miss Universe on the other hand is currently owned by Endeavor which also owns world largest and most prestigious talent agency. The winners get signed with the agency right after winning the crown. Even though we cannot put price tag on these sundry efforts by the pageant organisers they undeniably create easier path for that girl’s future.

In the end, Money or jewellery, nothing can be compared with the historical value and national pride that the titles like Miss Universe and Miss Worlds provide. Miss France does give a spectacular prize package, but it will not be fair to compare Miss France with the international pageants.

Article byJinendra Aherkar.