IPL 2020: Star India guns for a bigger IPL this year; to cash in on festive season
At a time when sporting events have been either stalled or only a few have been held under strict restrictions due to the on-going pandemic, the return of T20 tourney — the Indian Premier League (IPL) seems to have brought back the excitement amongst viewers — who were starved of original sports content — as well as advertisers. “IPL 2020 will be the biggest impact platform available for marketers as they go into the festive season. There is growing interest from varied brand categories including consumer durables, auto, online gaming amongst others who are keen to leverage the scale, reach and high visibility proposition that IPL offers,” Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports, told BrandWagon Online.
It is believed that Star Sports which earned about Rs 3,000 crore from IPL last year, including Rs 600 crore of ad revenue earned by Hotstar — is looking at earning more, this year. The broadcaster is charging Rs 12.5 lakh for a 10-second ad. What more, media analysts believe the fact that T20 tourney will be held during festive season, will further benefit the broadcaster. According to Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Media Brands, Star India will get a chance to exploit the festive seasons as brands will be looking to spend more on the back of rise in consumption of goods. The festive season usually sees a surge in consumer spending and sales for categories like online shopping, home décor, mobile handsets, consumer durables, FMCG, Auto, apparel amongst others. As for regional advertisers, Sinha believes that national brands with a portfolio of regional brands will utilise the moment to cash in on the festive season sale.
Much of the rise in ad revenue will be driven by an increase in viewership. Besides English and Hindi feed, Star Sports will telecast the matches in four languages — Tamil, Telugu, Bangla and Kannada. The T20 tourney in the past had witnessed a rise in viewership as far as women are concerned. For instance, 145 million women viewers aged 15 years and above watched the IPL across India between March 23 and April 12, 2019. Top 50 shows among women includes cricket and IPL dominates primetime with 3.5% leadership margin. “This year’s IPL will have a captive, at home audience and is poised to become the most-watched tournament ever. We have exciting content plans for our four regional language channels and already see strong demand from marketers looking to capitalise on the festive season,” Thakar added.
As per viewership data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC India), 462 million viewers watched last year’ IPL matches held between March 23 and May 12. The reach of the tournament was up 12% compared to the previous season. “The viewership of IPL this year is going to be high considering people are hungry for live sports. Moreover, the fact that there is a lack of content competition such as Bollywood movie releases to distract viewers from IPL, also lends to the viewership rise,” Lloyd Mathias, angel investor and business strategist, said.
However, a few media and sports analysts quickly pointed out that it’s too early to draw a verdict. “While everyone has assumed that IPL, coming at the back of an almost five month long lockdown, will be a mood-lifter, we will have to wait and watch how much of this positive sentiment actually flows into consumer behaviour vis-à-vis consumption. Currently, it seems like the IPL has buoyed the marketer’s sentiment, more than that of the consumer,” Ajit Ravindran, co-founder and MD, Meraki Sport and Entertainment, said.
In addition to advertising revenue, Disney+ Hotstar earning from subscription is expected to rise substantially, during the IPL. The OTT platform currently offers three packages — Rs 1,499 a year, Rs 299 per month and users can avail Disney+ Hotstar pack for Rs 399 a year.