Mumbai/New Delhi: Star India Pvt. Ltd, which has the digital rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL), expects to almost triple its advertiser base this season with 60 brands expected to advertise on its Hotstar app and Starsports.com.
It also expects viewership to cross 100 million users.
The IPL is the only major Indian cricket property whose TV rights are not owned by Star India, which is also the official sponsor of the Indian cricket team. The popular Twenty20 league’s broadcast rights are with Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd till 2017.
Star India said it has signed on around 10 sponsors, including Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Housing.com, Arvind Brands, Freecharge, Samsung, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Levi’s and Karbonn, for the digital broadcast.
Last year, Star India signed on 21 brands for IPL 7 and clocked 27.7 million viewers.
“The ICC cricket World Cup 2015 witnessed unprecedented viewership in India, both on TV and digital. The tournament logged record views on digital from the opening day itself and broke the Internet during the India-Pakistan game,” said Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer, Star India. “Mobile has emerged as a preferred platform for 87 million Indians and we will look to renew the fans’ relationship with their sport again with the Pepsi IPL on Hotstar.”
The 11th edition of the World Cup registered 87 million unique users on Star’s digital platforms. The company had 48 sponsors for its digital offering during the cricket World Cup.
Ad rates for last year’s IPL were estimated at Rs.4-5 crore per brand for packages offered on Starsports.com, said a media buyer who did not wish to be named. Media buyers say that the company is still in the process of closing deals with more sponsors.
Hotstar will stream all 60 games of the Pepsi IPL live, including the qualifiers, eliminators and the final. Novi Digital, a fully owned subsidiary of Star India, paid Rs.302.2 crore for the digital media rights for the IPL till 2017. Last year, the digital traffic for the IPL grew 40% to 61 million views. Star expects the number to increase this year.
Hotstar, launched on 1 February, has nearly 15 million users who spend an average of 30 minutes a day on it. For the IPL, the company is also producing original content with a pre-show before every match and a weekly round-up. Hotstar will also make its presence felt as an on-ground sponsor for the tournament.
One of the striking trends for the IPL this season is the effort by digital platforms to create sustained and deep engagement with users, according to Vinit Karnik, national director, GroupM ESP, the sports marketing arm of agency GroupM India. “With feeds available through Internet and mobile applications, content is truly taking centre stage.”
He added that it makes sense because if fans aren’t in the stadium, they’re busy consuming it elsewhere, either at work, home or in a café.