With the next season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) just two weeks away, the first-time streaming host JioCinema is pulling out all the stops.
A little-known app until late November 2022, JioCinema suddenly came into the spotlight when it decided to telecast the FIFA World Cup in India for free. It is one of two streaming apps run by media company Viacom18, a joint venture between telecom behemoth Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and American media giant Paramount Global.
However, with viewers totalling ~110 million, the 2022 FIFA World Cup was just a warm-up. By streaming the annual T20 franchise cricket league—known for its record-breaking live-streaming events—for free, the app is now expected to host ~550 million users versus the ~300 million hosted in 2022, according to eight senior advertising and brand-marketing executives who are in talks with the firm to advertise during the tournament.
And the expected spurt has set the advertising ecosystem abuzz, people in the industry said. “A strong FOMO (fear of missing out) is pushing advertiser interest, even though they’re not very sure of what they will get for their bucks this year,” a senior marketing executive at a national consumer products firm said, declining to be identified.
Advertising executives believe that this season, digital-ad spending is unlikely to hit Viacom18’s reported reported ET Brand Equity Viacom18 aiming for ad revenues worth Rs 3700 crore from IPL 2023 Read more internal target of Rs 3,700 crore (~US$449 million). It will also not exceed the TV-advertising spends, which are expected to be “slightly higher” than the Rs 3,500 crore (~US$425 million) spent in the previous editions. But it is likely to be much higher than the Rs 1,500 crore (~US$182 million) brands spent in digital advertising in 2022, the executives added.
All senior advertising, OTT, and brand-marketing executives who participated in this story declined to be identified as they either did not want to jeopardise long-standing ties with Viacom18 or were not allowed to comment publicly.
Viacom18’s decision to stream the IPL for free shook the Indian OTT space to the core, given it had spent spent India Today Viacom18 wins IPL digital rights for Rs 23,758 crore, Disney Star retains TV for Rs 23,575 crore for 2023-27 Read more a massive Rs 23,758 crore (~US$2.9 billion) in 2022 to buy the digital rights to the game for the five years ending 2027.
This was a tad bit more than the Rs 23, 575 crore (~US$2.8 billion) OTT-streaming service Disney+Hotstar paid for the television rights for the same period, and even higher than the total Rs 16,348 crore (~US$2 billion) Disney+Hotstar paid for the combined digital and television rights for the period between 2018 and 2022.