The Indian Premier League (IPL) continues to be a magnet for brands to reach out to their consumers even as the TV broadcast industry is in the midst of its biggest change ever.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new regulatory framework, which puts the power of choosing channels in the hands of the consumers, has the potential to impact the reach of the TV channels.
However, broadcaster Star India has ensured that the IPL reaches the length and breadth of the country by also putting it on entertainment channels.
Apart from the Star Sports Network comprising 16 standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) channels, the broadcaster will also broadcast Sunday matches of the tournament on GEC, movie and kids channels.
These include Star Gold (Hindi), Maa Movies (Telugu), Jalsha Movies (Bengali), Hungama (kids), Vijay Super (Tamil), Star Suvarna (Kannada), Star Pravah (Marathi) and Asianet Plus (Malayalam) on all Sundays besides the Opening and Finale matches.
Hotstar will also live stream the IPL matches without any delay for its subscribers. The over the top (OTT) platform has launched Hotstar VIP service which offers live sports content besides other premium content offerings.
“Last year, the tournament was only on Star Sports Network. This year, Star is also putting it up on Star Gold and regional channels to ensure that the reach doesn’t impacted. This year, the tournament is being aired on 26 channels,” a highly placed source said on condition of anonymity.
The source also stated that the sports channels are expected to get a much better reach than usual in the new TRAI regime. However, the broadcaster does not want to take any chances to make it really big.
Moreover, the regional sports channels launched recently by the broadcaster are newbies and will take time to settle down. “These are still early days for regional sports channels which is why it is putting IPL on regional channels,” the source said.
The idea behind putting the event on entertainment channels is also to widen the audience base by making it more inclusive for the family. “The Hindi feed on Star Gold will be completely different from the one on sports channels. The broadcaster is targeting families so the commentary will also be completely different.”
It is airing on Star Pravah and Asianet Plus since it doesn’t have sports channels in these languages. The reason behind airing the tournament on Maa Movies is because the broadcaster feels that the Telugu market is under-penetrated. “Each market has its own reasons,” the source noted.
The broadcaster has roped in 18 sponsors on TV and seven sponsors for digital.
The TV sponsors include PhonePe, Oppo, Thums-Up, and Vivo. The associate sponsors include Asian Paints, Maruti Suzuki, Swiggy, Big Bazaar, Dairy Milk, Vimal, Dream11, MakeMyTrip, Voltas, MRF, Byju’s, Polycab, Mobile Premier League, and Samsung QLED.
The digital co-presenting sponsors are Dream11, Amazon Pay, Coca-Cola, and Swiggy. The associate sponsors include Maruti Suzuki, Maggi (Nestle) and Flipkart.
“IPL ad inventory is nearly sold out. Star is expecting a sizeable growth over last year. 85% of advertisers are repeat ones. A lot of new ones are also advertising this year,” the source added.
Last year, Star had 130 brands on-board for the IPL. This year, it is expecting a lot more brands to join the IPL bandwagon. Typically, sponsors will consume 70% of the inventory while the remaining 30% will be consumed by spot buyers.
For digital, the number of sponsors will be slightly lower compared to TV because digital has a lot of non-sponsorship options as well.
The sponsorship rate for co-presenting sponsors is Rs 100+ crore depending on the number of spots taken while the associate sponsorship is roughly priced at Rs 70 crore. On the digital side, the co-presenting and associate sponsorships are priced at Rs 25 crore and Rs 15 crore respectively.
“The implementation of the tariff order has not impacted sports. Even the India-Australia series had seen good traction from advertisers,” the source added.
The source also pointed out that in a situation of flux the advertisers place their bets on tried and tested properties. “IPL is a safe bet since it has been performing well. It did well last year with ratings growing by 30%.”
The source also stated that while the reach had fallen last year but at the same time the time spent had gone up. This compensated for the drop in reach. “Rating was up at 5.4 TVR compared to 4.1 TVR in the previous to the previous year,” the source stated.