Nail-biting hits, last-over finishes, high-octane drama, and ultimate club loyalty- the latest edition of India Ka Tyohaar has surely set off the right start. Come April, IPL and its frenzy takes over our screens and the media. From marketing campaigns to viral moment marketing trends and sky-rocketing budgets, this season brings in an equal amount of content and excitement to us in the ad world.
But the 16th edition of the premier league stands apart for another reason. It’s the first time in the league’s history that the media rights for the event are divided between two broadcasters- Disney’s Star (Sports) and Viacom18’s JioCinema. And now there’s a war waging- between the two media companies vying for advertisers’ money and viewers’ attention, and between experts and professionals on whether TV or digital will now be the ultimate broadcast medium of the future.
Here’s how it began:
Viacom18 has bagged digital broadcast rights for the next five years and has announced free streaming of all matches on its OTT platform, JioCinema. Disney Star – the official TV broadcaster of Tata IPL till 2027, has announced they will broadcast the tournament across 22 channels in 10 languages. Senior officials also mention that some matches could be telecast on the company’s free-to-air channels.
Disney Star 2023 recorded a whopping 8.7 billion minutes of consumption for the opening match. 130 million viewers tuned in to their TV sets for the live broadcast of the first match of the season.
On the other hand, JioCinema recorded a peak attendance of 16 million viewers was recorded on JioCinema during the first match, with 1.47 billion digital video views on the opening weekend of the IPL.
So what does the future hold?
Industry experts pointed out that TV will always have the advantage of a big-screen experience. But when debates over no viewing versus viewing on a small screen take the centrestage, digital wins out. Plus, think of it this way. A lot of matches are played in the afternoon slot. And let’s not forget, regular matches begin in the evening at 7. A larger chunk of the audience is either in the workplace or commuting back to their homes. Digital is the ‘On-to-go’ medium and clearly has an advantage here.
But let’s not forget that TV is the family viewing, ‘always on’ medium. IPL has never been just about a certain gender or age demographic. Friends and family gather together to support their favourite team and enjoy some blazing hits in front of the screen, while they together beat the summer heat. It was due to the pandemic that the popularity of IPL, a solo-viewing activity, rose to the charts. But now that IPL picked off from where it left in 2019, TV has the advantage to take over, and many believe it will continue to stay.
Whilst all of this, let’s not forget to take into consideration the monetary aspects of streaming live and viewing. While IPL is free on OTT thanks to JioCinema, the data consumed for streaming one T20 match in its standard form can go up to 3.6GB. This is certainly not a feasible option for consumers who watch all their matches on prepaid or postpaid mobile data plans. On TV, viewers can pay a basic fee to get a Star Sports subscription for two months of IPL. And amidst all the hue and cry, Star is all set to make 12 matches from IPL 2023, including playoffs, Free To Air (FTA) for households too. This gives the TV a competitive edge.
All things being said and done, whether it’s TV or digital, that’s one thing assured- Entertainment and eyeballs that we advertisers can make the most of this season.
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