The Indian Premier League (IPL) has emerged as a major battleground for digital advertisers, with projected viewership of 600 million people this season. Also, JioCinema's move towards free streaming of the IPL has benefitted both advertisers and viewers. Advertisers now have access to a larger audience, while viewers can watch the matches for free. According to Chirag Bhatia, senior vice president - Digital, DDB Mudra Group, today the IPL is the second-most valuable sports league globally after the NFL, with each match’s broadcast value exceeding Rs 100 crore. In an interview with Storyboard18, Bhatia talks about the move towards free streaming of the IPL, the effectiveness of connected TV advertising, the future of IPL advertising and more.
What has been the focus of digital adex during this IPL season?
Very evidently there are two festivals in the country: one is the IPL and the other is Diwali. There isn’t a property that even comes close to the IPL in terms of reach and that’s precisely the reason the brand won’t let this once-in-a-year opportunity go to waste. Today the IPL is the second most valuable sports league globally after the NFL, with each match’s broadcast value exceeding Rs 100 crore which is humungous. And at the pace at which IPL is growing, it will surpass the NFL in no time.
Cohorts like geo, affluence cohorts like mobile price segments, age and cross-tab segments which are a mix of the above ensures laser sharp targeting for brands to reach their core target group with reduced spillage.
Are advertisers seeing a good return on investment from their digital ad campaigns during the IPL?
The IPL viewership this year has skyrocketed. On one hand the TVRs increased resulting in low CPRP’s, and on the other hand JioCinema’s concurrency numbers are almost double compared to the last year and is expected to grow 3-4 times. With huge inventories available due to the freemium model, the CPM’s rates are at an all-time low making it a treat for brands.
Have you seen a reduction in wastage of ad spend on digital platforms during the IPL?
The IPL product offering overall has evolved over the years with the slicing and dicing that is possible on digital for both viewers and advertisers. For viewers, things like commentaries in 13 languages and various camera angle options are amazing. For advertisers the option of being able to choose from various cohorts ensures a better bang for their buck. Cohorts like geo, affluence cohorts like mobile price segments, age and cross-tab segments which are a mix of the above ensures laser sharp targeting for brands to reach their core target group with reduced spillage.
Today the IPL is the second most valuable sports league globally after the NFL, with each match’s broadcast value exceeding Rs 100 crore which is humungous. And at the pace at which IPL is growing, it will surpass the NFL in no time.
Has the move towards free streaming of the IPL benefitted both advertisers and viewers?
While this is a blessing for advertisers, the ad revenues may not grow in line with audience growth due to media rights getting divided this time between Star and Viacom18, and also because of consumer internet startups being more cautious than ever because of the prevailing funding winter. The other macro factors impacting the global economic sentiment like interest rates across economies, the escalating banking crisis in the US and Europe, the country’s GDP growth, consumer spending patterns, inflation rates and other uncertainties linked to the on-going war etc will also play a role.
What are your views on the effectiveness of connected TV advertising during the IPL?
With the freemium streaming offering on digital, the viewer journey this time is a ‘zero miss out’ approach and a starkly evident multiscreen viewer behaviour is emerging. Viewers just don’t want to miss out on even a single ball and the moment they step out of their houses they have all the action in the palm of their hands. While digital will always hold a place in the media mix, TV will be important too.
The form factor of TVs might change with close to 80 percent of the replacement TVs being sold in India being connected TVs due to cheap hardware availability and increasing broadband penetration. As CTV enables an on-demand phenomenon it would be great for advertisers as switching channels between breaks would reduce.