Reliance: Star Sports will not let Reliance get a “free kick” in the galactic battle for IPL viewership.

For many Indians, it’s eating, sleeping and breathing cricket. Rage surges in time Indian Premier League, the franchise’s richest cricket league and one of the world’s most watched sporting events. According to brand valuation consultant Brand Finance, IPL’s brand value nearly doubled last year to $8.4 billion.

During the summer in India, the IPL is considered the Indian Super Bowl. This league is a golden goose as well as a battleground for brands, advertisers and of course broadcasters.

The battle is going to be intense this year as we anticipate a key galactic battle for IPL viewership between the titans. star sport and JioCinema, owned by Reliance, which will stream matches in 4K for free on its OTT platform. This battle off the field is not only about the present, but will give enough information about the audience in the future.

Confidencehit switch

Reliance won the lion’s share of the IPL broadcast rights (for 2023-2027) by winning Package B (digital rights for the Indian subcontinent) and C (non-exclusive digital rights for 98 matches over five seasons in the Indian subcontinent) for a total of 23,758 crores rupees.

Disney Star has secured the television rights to the Indian subcontinent by paying Rs 23,575 crore.

Many believed in the act of the richest man in India Mukesh Ambani to get OTT rights as something beyond what appears to the ordinary eye. After paying billions, Reliance also made a “full offer” of free OTT match streaming. Some analysts and experts believe that Ambani is building something for the future at the expense of future benefits. For example, the move is thought to boost its telecommunications business through data consumption.

In addition, Jio Platforms, Ambani’s mobile internet startup, is aiming to enter Dalal Street soon and at a time when business mogul rival Gautam Adani is distracted by a stock crash following Hindenburg’s allegations of manipulation.

Star Sports does not heat the benches

Disney+Hotstar reported a 6% drop in paid subscribers between October and December. Some attribute the decline in the paying subscriber base to the lack of IPL streaming rights.

However, industry sources, who wished to remain anonymous, said the drop in subscribers was due to the migration of Disney+Hotstar subscribers in some markets to Disney+.

Star Sports is not resting on its laurels and has stepped up its marketing campaign to convince viewers that the IPL is best viewed on TV.

“Star Sports’ new campaign (for making IPL better on TV) is more of a pre-emptive move to keep TV dominating both advertisers and broadcasters,” said Swarup Gupta, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Ratings. ESG. at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“In India, sport remains a shared viewing experience and the penetration, expertise and experience of broadcasters remain undeniable. By contrast, viewers ditching TV for streaming services are estimated to be only 0.2% of the TV universe,” he added.

Star Sports is confident about where India will watch IPL – on their TVs.

date wheel

According to YouGov, 83% of viewers prefer watching sports on television. The Broadcast Audience Research Council notes that TV ratings for Asia Cup 2022 are up 12%. The India-Australia T20I series attracted 36% more viewers than its previous highest in 2019 and became the highest rated T20I two-way series in the past five years. In June 2022, the rating of the India-South Africa series was 47% higher than the previous series. In the recently concluded India-Sri Lanka and India-New Zealand series, the ratings also rose by 63%.

India vs Australia 1st Test – 3rd highest ranked double-sided Test in the last five years.

In 2022, the number of sports viewers on TV grew by 11%, with 758 million viewers watching sports on linear TV. The total linear TV universe has 900 million people and is thought to have huge room for growth.

Star Sports Marketing

Star Sports is banking on data and stepped up its promotions with a comprehensive marketing campaign reaching every corner of the country ahead of the IPL.

The company said it will make every effort to ensure that more people have access to Star Sports. In order to reach the growing HD premium audience base and fill the HD in-car gap for viewers in the South Indian market, Star Sports is launching two premium HD sports channels – Star Sports Tamil HD and Star Sports Telugu HD.

“We will have over 100 commentators and we are aiming for more interaction with viewers. We will focus on building and engaging communities and creating content around the IPL for groups ranging from high schoolers and sports academies to new mothers. on the other,” ET Online said.

“Our goal is to make Tata IPL 2023 the largest ever televised event,” the post reads.

Star Sports has stated that it will air IPL on over 22 channels with over 10 channels. “The Disney Star network, which has a market share of over 30%, will use the full power of its network to make this the biggest IPL ever shown on TV. This will be the largest IPL broadcast coverage ever with the widest range of channels.

Television has been the preferred medium for brands to use given IPL’s high viewership on television. IPL on TV is where brands are built, no one wants to lose sight of that, the company said.

An easy chase for Star Sports?

According to industry sources, Star Sports has set a target of 500 million viewers this year through IPL, up from the roughly 400 million the network has achieved in previous editions.

“Judging by the past few months of live cricket broadcasts on Star Sports, we have seen a very active participation of various clients from different categories in advertising with us. We see great interest from the clients we meet at IPL 2023 and look forward to a positive response,” the broadcaster said.

There are over 100 advertisers on TV every year and 75% of Indian B2C startups have used IPL on TV to become unicorns. IPL leads in terms of advertising spend among the media and platforms available to advertisers. It has invariably been a catalyst in stimulating the economy.

“Summer is also a time when brands in many categories become active advertisers, and no other platform can provide the scale for brands like IPL on TV,” Star Sports said.

Star Sports also believes that this edition of the IPL will generate more interest than in recent years, which should make it easier for broadcasters to meet growth targets.

The rich cricket league this time will come after a year-long hiatus, something that hasn’t happened for the past three years. The revival of matches at home stadiums after three years ensures that local markets in the cities hosting the championship will arouse the interest of the audience.

Low speed for OTT?

Some experts and analysts believe that Reliance will not pose any threat to Star Sports or any broadcaster in the near to medium term, as viewers will mostly be in front of their TVs.

“I don’t foresee people watching IPL matches on the phone while sitting at home. It will be more convenient when you travel. you watch sports as content,” said Karan Taurani, senior vice president and media analyst at Elara Capital.

“So, I think sports as a proposition is very strong on TV. I don’t foresee that OTT will be a big threat to broader TV ad revenue in the near future, at least because 4K penetration is low and the latter is of course smart. Television figures are too low to support such an argument. And, finally, the penetration rates of broadband access in our country are also about 15-16%,” he added.

Industry reports from EY-FICCI and Affle confirmed that smartphone penetration in India is close to 460 million, which is only half of India’s television penetration.

The cost of data is another important factor that is likely to reduce interest in watching OTT matches.

Jio Media Cable will allow people to connect their phone to a TV to turn it into a smart TV. However, the data required to stream a 3.5-hour match, typically using a Jio Media Cable, ranges from 3.6GB per match for SD transfer to 26+ GB per match for 4K transfer.

Given that the cost per GB as determined by TRAI is around Rs 10, the cost of streaming just 10 IPL games with Jio Media Cable will be in the range of Rs 360 to Rs 2600. Therefore, the cost of data to watch 10 games will be dramatically higher than to watch the entire IPL on TV. In contrast, TV viewers can pay around Rs 30-40 for the Star channel and watch the entire tournament.

While the matches usually promise to be intense late summer evenings, the competition for spectators will be no less interesting. It’s not about one evening or one issue, it’s a battle that will be fought for years. However, consumers should not lose wickets at the end of the day by being forced to pay huge subscription fees wherever they want to watch matches.

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