As the year comes to an end, cricket fans are eagerly awaiting for 2015 to begin. Cricket mania is set to take over as ICC Cricket World Cup will begin in February next year. And waiting to cash in on the opportunity is starsports.com.
According to Star India EVP and new media head Ajit Mohan, the portal will be following a three step strategy ahead of the mega event. "Firstly, we will create an immersive experience by launching a video timeline that will be available to all fans of starsports.com fans. It will allow them to catch up very quickly on a match, when they come to witness the action on the website. We were the first to introduce the video timeline and we will now take it to every fan," he says.
"Secondly, we will provide the option for users to switch between languages. Currently we are looking at four languages; Hindi, English and two regional languages," he adds.
"Thirdly, we are going to have a lot more data and analytics on our site. Apart from this, there will be original stories written by a stellar list of writers like Harsha Bhogle," he informs.
The website currently is in a celebratory mood. According to data, recently released by comScore, the portal which was launched in June 2013 has beaten the dominant 20 year-old market leader ESPNcricinfo, by a slender margin. For the month of October, the website garnered 4.242 million traffic versus 4.233 million of ESPNcricinfo.
The data also suggests that sports viewership in India is going through a rapid change due to a shift in viewership patterns. Consumers are moving away from basic text and scorecards to a more immersive sports experience on digital. The explosion in the sale of smart phones and increase in access to 3G and broadband explains this trend, says the study.
When questioned what have been the ingredients that have helped starsports.com achieve this recent feat, Mohan explains that the portal has always focused on three areas – enhancing video experience, engaging data and analytics and lastly, storytelling.
"We want to create a video experience that surpasses all constraints of data access and works even at low bandwidths," says Mohan while adding that sports fans are avid consumers of statistical data too.
Mohan credits his digital team for the website's way forward. "The DNA of this company is that we are story tellers. We turn data and analytics into sports telling, in a way that can't be done on television. For example, we have short clips of matches that are curated to tell a story," concludes Mohan.