Apart from Disney, Zee5, Voot, Jio TV and MX Player are also in advanced talks for the streaming rights of Poker Sports League
Key video-streaming platforms, including Disney+Hotstar, plan to wager on the growing popularity of online poker tournaments in India.
Apart from Disney, Zee5, Voot, Jio TV and MX Player are also in advanced talks for the streaming rights of Poker Sports League (PSL), which will go online in its third season as the pandemic has disrupted the on-ground preparations. Instead of the five-day on-ground event, the virtual league will be played over two months with 2-3 matches per week, starting 16 January.
“We are in talks with multiple OTT (over-the-top) platforms such as Disney+ Hotstar, Jio TV and Zee5. The sponsorship partner will be announced sometime next week," said Dabur India Ltd chairman Amit Burman, who is also the co-founder of Mind Sports League, which organizes the poker tournament.
PSL, which began in 2016, was broadcast on Discovery Communications India’s DSPORTS channel for the past two seasons. However, the significant shift of eyeballs to digital platforms coupled with the pandemic has pushed Burman to consider bringing in a streaming partner. According to the latest report by TV monitoring agency BARC and data measurement firm Nielsen, video streaming makes up 15% of the total time spent on smartphones. Industry experts said the platforms have added 4-5 million paying subscribers to the overall OTT ecosystem in just the past few months.
“The bulk of our audiences are under 35 years of age who are digital natives and do not spend the majority of their time consuming content on television. It is a clear decision based on where our audiences are," said Pranav Bagai, chief executive officer and co-founder, Mind Sports League.
PSL season 2 witnessed 20,000 registrations of poker players with more than 4 million views just on Facebook.
Emails sent to Zee5, Disney + Hotstar and Jio TV remained unanswered.