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IPL. In the first promo made in 2008, it was called “Karma Yudh on Earth”. After 15 seasons, he became the Indian Cricket Board’s cash cow. Belief in this phrase deepens when looking at the current bids for the rights to broadcast the next 5 seasons. According to the news so far, BCCI will earn more than 44 thousand 075 crores from TV and digital broadcasting. As of the writing of this article, the lids of the offers of two categories – C and D have not yet been opened. According to the first two categories, BCCI will get Rs 107.5 crore per game. It should be recalled here that the amount to be received from the two categories is not yet known. In this way, IPL matches are only behind the NFL of American football in terms of match broadcasts.

All the numbers given so far show that IPL has become a huge brand and currently no one seems to be catching it. But the way IPL viewing numbers have gone down over the past season, it bothered everyone. For example, in the first week of the 2022 season, IPL got a TV viewership of 22 crore 90 lakhs, while last year it was 26 crore 70 lakhs. Then he learned that IPL’s TV viewership dropped by 30% in the first 3 weeks. But the fourth week took over and the figure increased by 4%. From there, it was known that people didn’t show much interest in the initial matches and looked forward to later matches where the stats of the teams qualifying or not qualifying in the play-offs and the outcome of one team seems to affect the other. .

Click here: Star will broadcast IPL on TV, matches can be watched here on a laptop

But on OTT (Disney Hotstar in the case of IPL), the audience figure is reversed from TV. In the 2021 season, 10 million users watched the IPL in the first week, while in 2022 it reached 13 million. Meanwhile, the Eliminator between RCB and Lucknow team became the most watched match on Hotstar in IPL at some point. 87 lakh people were watching this match simultaneously on Hotstar.

How do these platforms recover and make a profit after buying such expensive rights to stream IPL matches? The answer is – advertising. IPL manages a complete ecosystem that includes all companies that advertise. Dozens of stores are running from a game. The rate of ads shown during IPL matches season by season is increased. The rate of a 10-second slot has reached up to Rs 16 lakh. As the number of broadcasts of a game increases, the ad slots broadcast in the next season are likely to become more expensive. And that’s where the case seems stuck. Brands like Maruti had invested Rs 93 crore in the 2019 IPL season. While in 2022, this brand has increased this amount to 25 crores. Maruti attributed this to the 58% drop in male viewership between the ages of 22 and 40 as the main reason behind it.

Questions are being raised about IPL’s audience and big money making companies are shrouded in apprehension. But amidst all this, the level of optimism of the digital channels and platforms can be gauged from the fact that the base price set by the council (package A and B, both inclusive) was 82 crore, but the BCCI will actually get Rs 107.5 crores. That is a 31% increase in the base price. This Rs 107.5 crore deal is almost double the previous one. In the previous broadcast rights deal, the board got Rs 54 crore per game.

Photo: AFP

TV viewership experts believe there are three main reasons why the numbers are low compared to previous seasons:

1. People are switching from TV to digital

The mobile phone has become the new television. Subscriptions have increased on Disney-Hotstar and the increase in viewership numbers is a testament to the fact that people have moved from TV to OTT. OTT allows the user to stay away and watch the game while cooking or sitting in the office.

2. After the Corona period, now people are moving

During the Corona period, people prefer to go out after being imprisoned in houses for almost 2 years. In such a situation, the TV is turned off.

3. Disappointing performance by big players and MI-CSK

The poor performances of Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and to a large extent Virat Kohli also became a big reason to keep people away from the game. Moreover, the next two biggest teams – Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, never appeared in full swing throughout the tournament. Their performance is very disappointing. Somehow RCB made it to the playoffs and there was hope among the people that maybe this year Virat Kohli could be seen holding the IPL trophy. And that’s why his Eliminator drew the most viewers.

In addition, the arrival of new teams, the mixing of players, the change of team identity have distanced fans and spectators from the old configuration. After the initial phase, once the competition between the teams was established, the spectators returned and the numbers increased. This growth has certainly given hope to all the brands and they are pouring blind money into the IPL despite the increasing number of matches and the worrying numbers. Since the digital rights changed hands this time (Viacom won the contract instead of Disney-Hotstar), new packaging for the IPL is also expected. Digital is therefore always visible in the right hands. But it will be interesting to see how Star Network performs on TV, how will it grow in numbers.

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