Phase 1 of the 14th IPL had to be discontinued, but data from those matches encouraged more advertisers to sign up for the second leg beginning September 19, 2021. (Image: Twitter/@IPL, BCCI)
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) resuming and festivals around the corner, it's bumper season for streaming platform Disney+Hotstar, which owns the live stream rights for the league. The platform has managed to clock 100 percent inventory sales ahead of the second half of the 14th edition of IPL. Earlier in 2020, the season was cut short and moved out of the country after the Covid-19 virus infiltrated the bio-bubble meant to keep players, coaches and support staff safe.
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As advertisers align their festive marketing calendar with the tournament, the streaming platform has seen an influx of brands from across categories such as BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), technology, consumer durables, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), education, healthcare and auto.
In 2020, after Disney+Hotstar made live IPL matches available only to paid subscribers, it confused advertisers, who were concerned about RoI (return on investment) being curtailed. However, this year, the scene is different. According to media planners and experts, brands are now more open to spending on the platform, with data from the 13th edition and the first part of the 14th edition providing a better understanding of audience demographics.
After the interval
“Brands are now able to make a conscious decision about buying inventory. Advertisers coming to the platform know whether the paid subscribers form a part of their target group, and that’s the advantage the platform is getting a premium for,” says Shradha Agarwal - COO and strategy head - Grapes Digital.
One of Agarwal’s clients is Bajaj Finserv which has a big ad splash planned because the client is convinced that IPL watchers on the platform will also be keen to buy insurance.
Apart from sponsors like Dream11, Vimal Elaichi, Upstox, Fresh2Home, Amazon, Livspace, UB, Unacademy, AMFI, VW, PhonePe and Swiggy, the streaming service has also signed ad deals with a host of other brands like JSW, MPL, Flipkart, Cred, ICICI Bank, Zomato, Niyo, Pharmeasy, P&G, Simplilearn, Philips, Ultratech, Curefit, Homelane, Nestle, Tata Health, and Asian Paints. According to industry sources, around 175 advertisers are on board for IPL this season.
"IPL is undoubtedly the biggest platform available for advertisers and its convergence with the festive season is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. We have seen an amazing response from brands and agencies across categories and scale on IPL,” says Nitin Bawankule, head - ad sales, Star and Disney India.
Experts say that brands that have come onboard will mostly use the platform for new launches with storytelling through video at scale alongside driving brand recall and recognition. That’s due to the lean-in, captive nature of viewership.
Yatin Balyan, managing partner, national head investment, Omnicom Media Group India, also notes the opportunity for advertisers who can’t afford TV time to leverage IPL. Though the IPL creates festivity around itself, during the H2 festive period, it creates an opportunity for advertisers to align their festive marketing calendar with the league, supercharging their marketing efforts.
The overall positive sentiment in the market due to fewer lockdown restrictions and markets opening up has also boosted the confidence of brands and advertisers.
“The consumer environment is much better than what it was in April. Hence demand is likely to be higher and ad rates are at a premium. There's also a pent-up demand from this festive season, as compared to last year,” says Siddharth Devnani, co-founder and director, SoCheers Infotech.
Devnani adds, "While a handful of brands are extending their buys from April, many have joined in looking at the opportunity, owing to growth in eyeballs on the IPL and the potential demand due to the festive season."
The festive mood is pervasive and powerful. And advertisers are looking ahead to a season full of festivals and two mega cricket properties, starting with the IPL, to close the calendar year on a high. So, get ready to buy game night snacks and an insurance policy.