Amazon confirms bid for IPL digital rights, heat intensifies

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The mercury in the Indian Premier League media rights is soaring. The bidders in fray to grab the IPL media rights are set to feel the heat. As much for the digital platforms as television. If TV rights value is set to see a jump of over 300% for the next 10 year cycle, the rise in the digital rights value may match these numbers, too. The market is not relying on mere speculation. This is the economics of a steady rise in revenues, viewership and an intense competition to garner these precious rights.

The tenders for the next five-year cycle is expected by August-September this year. E-Commerce major Amazon has confirmed its interest to extend its digital platform Amazon Prime’s interest into sports with the bid for IPL rights. Times Internet is keen to get back the property which it missed out on three years back. STAR India is working with tremendous intensity to grab the complete IPL bouquet. By retaining digital and acquiring the TV rights.

Reliance Jio, aiming to add a DTH TV platform to its digital brand Jio TV, is another big player for the market, which is all set to see more challenge from bigger digital space players like Twitter and Facebook. This competition for the rights, riding on a steady rise in viewership and market data, is set to see an unprecedented upswing in the media rights. Sony too will go all out to acquire rights for Sony Live as it renews the bid for the TV broadcast rights. Sony and STAR India will be hunting to acquire IPL broadcast exclusivity – with TV and digital rights.

“There is a certain consistency in IPL’s digital viewership growth. Rather, cricket. To be precise. Viewership, revenues and rights value have progressed upward in a certain manner. These driving factors in them self suffice to give a boost to the media right values of IPL. Add to that the rising demand and competition to acquire these rights. One will not be surprised if the next successful bid breaks past the assumed 250% rise figure,” says Mr Ashish Chadha, media rights veteran and Sporty Solutionz Chief Executive. “Hotstar is aiming to achieve the 200-crore revenue target from IPL this season. Even if STAR India manages to come closer to that figure, this will further escalate the media rights value.” Numbers back this view.

 

Hotstar’s reach is challenging television consistently during the live cricket matches. It has reached 147% of television viewership in six metropolitan cities, and 120% in the cities with more than a million population. As against 50 million downloads in March 2016, OTT player has crossed 200 million mark in February 2017. The numbers are consistently rising. The Hotstar revenues too have gone up each year – from Rs 60 crore in 2015 to Rs 65 crore in 2016. There is an assumption of 300% rise with the figures for 2017 expected to reach Rs 200 crores.

Hotstar crossed 200 million downloads at the end of February. The company expects that Hotstar will be the primary screen for IPL 2017 for the 130-million video streamers in the country. Marketers are recognizing that these are audiences that are TV light or not present on television at all.

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