New Delhi: Star India Pvt. Ltd, the official broadcaster of the Indian Premier League (IPL), said it will offer targeted advertising to brands on its video streaming platform Hotstar during IPL 2019, which will kick off on 23 March. Advertisers will now be able to serve targeted ads to viewers based on age, gender and demography, helping them get better return on investment (RoI) on their media money.
As on 25 February, Hotstar has signed up seven digital streaming partners, including Amazon Pay, Dream 11, Swiggy, Coca-Cola, Flipkart, Maruti Suzuki and Maggi. Last year, 70 brands had advertised on Hotstar during the T20 league. Star India continues to sell bundled contracts to advertisers, allowing them to advertise both on its TV channels as well as on Hotstar.
“This is the first time that we are offering targeted ads to brands. They can target custom cohorts and also deploy interest-based targeting. In the WatchN’Play social feed of the game we have introduced branded cards, which advertisers can leverage to target relevant target group (TG)," said Varun Narang, chief product officer, Hotstar.
Brands will be able to leverage multiple ad formats, including banner ads, carousel as well as video.
The over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform has also set itself a target to achieve a viewership of 300 million for the T20 matches, a 50% jump from last year.
A total of 202 million viewers watched the IPL on Hotstar in 2018.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into scaling our service to be able to reach those number of users. We have invested a lot on technology so that the service is smooth," said Narang.
On user experience, the streaming platform will introduce a live comments feature, which will allow viewers to share their thoughts during the live match with friends.
“We have an algorithm in place which will pick the best comments that will be visible to everyone globally. The idea is to offer a more social way of watching IPL this year," Narang added.
Hotstar will also launch a virtual reality (VR) game, which will be rolled across several locations in the country.
According to media buyers’ estimate, Hotstar is expected to pull ₹400 crore worth of advertising money this IPL season.
Pallav Jain, co-chief executive officer of Publicis Media’s digital marketing agency Performics.Convonix, said that for the first time targeting on live cricket is possible. Hotstar has enabled 24 cohorts targeting possible with 22 locations and female and male (high net worth individuals) above 35 years of age and this will enhance the targeting capabilities significantly.
“This IPL, Hotstar is hoping to deliver over 15 million concurrency (people watching a match at the same time). Reach delivered by Hotstar is a mix of urban and rural with 55%-60% coming from the urban markets and rest from towns with a population of one million towns thereby becoming a truly mass medium on digital transcending geographies. It should definitely lead to Hotstar’s ad revenue growth," he added.
The network, which earned close to ₹2,000 crore from IPL 2018 is expected to touch ₹2,500 crore in ad revenue in IPL 2019, according to media buyers’ estimates.