Viacom18 has found a way to the advertiser’s wallet. Free streaming. Free streaming guarantees reach that as per industry estimates has the potential to touch 550 million viewers. According to industry sources, JioCinema is also unlikely to increase its ad rates this year, which means that advertisers will essentially get more for the same amount of money they paid Hotstar, the previous IPL streaming partner.
Sources close to the developments say IPL ad rates for Hotstar have been around Rs 199-277 per CPM (cost per mille/thousand impressions) for 10-second ads and Viacom18 is expected to keep the range between Rs100 and Rs250 CPM with premium being added to special matches like semifinals and finals.
However, any money lost in subscription is expected to be made up through ad revenues as experts foresee a lot of new advertisers entering the IPL advertising arena.
The fact that the IPL attracts new advertisers every year is well-known. In the 2022 season, over 90 new brands and more than 17 new categories were part of the IPL compared to the previous year. As per TAM, indexed ad volume per match witnessed growth in IPL 15 by 11 percent as compared to IPL 14. The growth trajectory is not expected to stop this year. According to media buyers, both these numbers are projected to grow by at least 20 to 30 percent this season.
Continuing the FIFA stride
“Hotstar has done a great job in the past but Jio has the potential to match or even do better, something they have demonstrated during the FIFA World Cup. In terms of targeting, I expect younger audiences from Tier 2, Tier 3 and beyond to increase because a free broadcast would solve the accessibility problem which wasn’t as easy to solve before,” says Aman Singhal, manager- strategy and business operations at AdPushup.
As per reports, during IPL 2022, Hotstar reached 141 million users across desktop and mobile devices in March 2022 and touched 144 million in March.
FIFA has taken the reach game to a different scale and IPL is expected to follow suit.
For a global event without any representation from India, Jio Cinema clocked record numbers for FIFA World Cup 2022. 40 billion minutes of watch time clocked across Sports18 and JioCinema, which continued to be the number one downloaded free app on iOS and Android throughout the tournament. Over 110 million viewers consumed FIFA on digital, making India one of the highest digital viewership markets for the FIFA World Cup. On the final match day alone, 32 million viewers tuned in to JioCinema.
How JioCinema's prepping for its maiden IPL ride
Alongside features like 4K feed, multi-language and multi-cam presentation, interactivity through stats pack and Play Along feature, the platform is also focussed on enhancing its content library.
They have already rolled out a bunch of originals and content-based shows in English and Hindi featuring IPL legends like Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, Anil Kumble, Robin Uthappa and Aakash Chopra. The programmes available on JioCinema currently are TATA IPL’s All-Time XI, TATA IPL G.O.A.T.’s, and Next Gen Superstars of TATA IPL, among others.
In addition to these, JioCinema has also put together a wrap of sorts with favourite moments from the past IPL seasons with themes such as CSK Saturdays, MI Sundays, High-Voltage Mondays (covering the highest scoring matches in IPL history), and Comeback Fridays (featuring greatest comebacks in IPL history).
Throwback to power of free offering
In 2019, Jio users were able to watch the IPL for free on Hotstar. Priced at Rs197, the Reliance Jio 197 pack threw in free access to Hotstar for 28 days during IPL. This resulted in a reach of 300 million viewers, showcasing the immense potential of free offerings to drive engagement and reach. By offering free access to the IPL, Jio was able to drive massive adoption of its platform that stayed on.
Ad experts suggest that the ‘free’ tag has helped Jio over time and will dial up action during IPL too in terms of brand activations and integrations.