The coming 10th edition of the popular T20 cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), is slated to make more than Rs200 crore in advertising revenue for Hotstar, Star India’s digital streaming platform, on account of a dramatic growth in viewership.
The firm has signed two sponsorship deals of Rs20 crore each with Chinese smartphone maker Vivo (also the title sponsor for IPL) and automobile firm Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. The two will be co-presenting sponsors for IPL 10. In addition, the firm is closing deals with other advertisers, including Oppo—the newly appointed sponsor for team India—and computer technology firm Dell.
The Rs200-crore revenue is significantly higher than Hotstar’s IPL 9 advertising revenue of Rs65 crore.
Hotstar more than doubled its viewership to 100 million in the ninth season of IPL—from 41 million at the end of the previous season. As per the latest data shared by Star India, clips of short-form matches on Hotstar have regularly drawn upward of 20 million viewers.
“Sports has allowed us to demonstrate big leaps in consumption and the evolution of the consumer experience. We have been able to use live cricket to demonstrate that there is demand for long-form content on the Internet,” said Ajit Mohan, chief executive at Hotstar.
Hotstar crossed 200 million downloads at the end of February. “We are reinventing the experience of cricket on mobile, and India is changing the way it watches its favourite sport. We believe Hotstar will be the primary screen for Vivo IPL 2017 for the 130-million video streamers in the country. Marketers are recognizing that these are audiences that are TV light or not present on television at all,” he added.
In February 2015, Star India bid Rs302.2 crore to win the global Internet and mobile rights for IPL for a three-year period, beating Times Internet Ltd and Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd.
According to Vivo’s chief marketing officer, Vivek Zhang, the experience of enjoying cricket is changing with a surge in demand for watching television on small screens. “Hotstar appeals to the youth and enjoys a tremendous brand recall. Its desire to constantly invest on innovative technology, which is in line with Vivo’s marketing objectives, made it a preferred choice for Vivo,” he said.
Sanjeev Handa, head of marketing at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, said his company’s approach to the media is customer centric. “More and more of our target groups are now engaging with us on digital mediums. There is a diffusion of purchase cycle within digital since 50% of users start their research online, which makes it imperative for us to be present extensively on these mediums. Hence, our approach is integrating offline and online.”
For Hotstar, IPL-9 saw participation from 32 advertisers, including Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Nestle India Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd and Amazon.