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Hotstar eyes big revenue gains from IPL 10

MUMBAI: Hotstar, Star India’s OTT platform, is eyeing big revenue gains from the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has more than doubled advertising rates for the popular T20 league.

HotstarHotstar has roped in Chinese handset manufacturer Vivo and automobile maker Maruti Suzuki as the co-presenting sponsors for the streaming of the 10th edition of the IPL.

While the sponsorship figures have not been publicly disclosed, Hotstar claimed that both sponsorships are record breaking in the Indian digital ad scene.

So, how much would Hotstar earn from the new season of the IPL? There is a wide range of figures floating in the market. While The Economic Times has pegged the figure at Rs 120 crore, Mint has put it at over Rs 200 crore and The Financial Express at around Rs 220 crore. Both Mint and FE have quoted Rs 65 crore as Hotstar’s ad income from the earlier season.

10 Vivo IPLAs reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, Novi Digital Entertainment, which is fully owned by Star India and which operates Hotstar, garnered advertising revenue of Rs 138.6 crore in FY16. Subscription revenue accounted for Rs 24.2 crore while licensing of content rights stood at Rs 19.2 crore in FY16. The company’s total income stood at Rs 185.7 crore in FY16.

This would give indicative revenues for the IPL in the previous season. One of the big revenue earners for Hotstar, the growth expected this time is much stronger. But ad revenue of Rs 200 crore seems to be on the higher side, some media buyers said.

Since the IPL played last time, Hotstar has of course continued to accelerate its reach and viewership. The agreement with Reliance Jio has also given Hotstar an explosive growth in reach. Reliance Jio crossed 100 million subscribers within six months of launch. When the IPL starts, Reliance Jio could see some churn in its subscriber numbers as it would cease to be a free service from 1 April. But still, the growth is stupendous and very positive for OTT operators.

Over the last few weeks, Hotstar has been sharing viewership insights that suggest explosive growth in cricket viewership and a meaningful shift in audience allegiance from television to digital. The most recent India vs England ODI series saw Hotstar’s reach challenging that of television consistently. The reach hit 120% of television in cities with more than a million in population and 147% reach in the largest 6 cities in India (M15+, NCCS AB). At the same time, the platform has seen new records established for digital with the short-format cricket matches regularly exceeding 20 million in viewership.

Mr. Ajit Mohan, President & Head - Hotstar“We are reinventing the experience of cricket on mobile devices and India is changing the way it watches its favourite sport,” said Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan. “We believe that Hotstar will be the primary screen for Vivo IPL 2017 for the 130 million video streamers in the country. Marketers are recognising that these are audiences that are TV light or not present on television at all. We are delighted with the conviction that Hotstar will be the best vehicle this summer to reach this audience.”

Vivek ZhangVivo India CMO Vivek Zhang said, “It is exciting to see how the experience of enjoying cricket is changing with the surging demand of watching TV on small screens. Hotstar appeals to the youth and enjoys a tremendous brand recall. Its desire to constantly invest in innovative technology, which is in line with Vivo’s marketing objectives, made it a preferred choice for Vivo. We are truly excited about the delightful cricket experience that the platform is driving and were indeed keen to be a part of this drive.”

Interestingly, Vivo is also the title sponsor of the IPL and one of the co-presenting sponsors on Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), which holds the TV telecast rights of the cash-rich T20 league.

Sanjeev HandaMaruti Suzuki marketing head Sanjeev Handa said, “Our approach to media at Maruti Suzuki 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. We wanted to embody the spirit of Play Glamourous for Vitara Brezza across the markets, and found a perfect fit by reaching out to the audiences via their closest screens, i.e. mobiles. An average user is spending over 150 min each day on mobile. Our tie-up as co-presenting sponsor on Hotstar will give us the mileage and the engagement with the most glamourous sport in the nation!”

According to Mint and FE, the co-presenting slot is being sold for around Rs 20 crore.

Whatever be the commercial numbers, the IPL is batting on a stronger wicket, both on television and on the OTT platform. The new season of the IPL is going to fetch peak revenues for Sony and Star India. Sony is looking at ad revenue of Rs 1,300 crore from the TV telecast of IPL 10.

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