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IPL 2019, World Cup, Sacred Games spur growth in digital consumption : ComScore

Ramanujam Pobbisetty, director, Enterprise Sales, ComScore spoke about Online Trends at the recently concluded Digipub World, a two day convention for web publishers.In his presentation which highlighted recent trends in the digital universe, Pobisetty said, "2019 has been a thriller so far and it all started with IPL." The franchisee T-20 cricket tournament was a big hit for Hotstar. The cricket craze continued and Hotstar continued to grow during the ICC Cricket World Cup too. According to a ComScore study, Star India's video on demand platform gained around 50 to 60 million unique visitors on the Android app during the World Cup. Just like television, India matches had more traction than the others on digital too. The India vs New Zealand semifinal was the most watched match on Hotstar's Android app.

Apart from Hotstar, food delivery app Swiggy also recorded gains during the IPL. As an advertiser on Hotstar during IPL, Swiggy offered viewers a chance to order food on the streaming platform. During his presentation, Pobisetty mentioned that the cash splash from Swiggy helped it get more active users. Before IPL, Swiggy had about eight to 10 million visits on its Android app which kept on growing during the IPL. In the finals, about 19 million visitors accessed Swiggy's Android app, Pobbisetty said.

Reportedly, Netflix spent around Rs 100 crore to produce Sacred Games and Pobbisetty's presentation says it is working for Reed Hastings' streaming app in India. "There seems to be a repeat of what happened after the launch of Season One. This also looks like the way Netflix is acquiring users in this market. What we have seen is that whenever there is a big launch, there is a spike in the number of active users and then it goes down again but not as low as it was earlier. So, there is always growth after big launches," he said. According to ComScore, about 15 million people watched Sacred Games 2 on their Android apps.

Pobbisetty also shared that though social media has grown its reach in India, it was mostly driven by newer platforms like TikTok, Helo, Sharechat and others whereas the reach of bigger players remained flat. However, he added that the entry of other platforms is not necessarily impacting the share of Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube.

Pobbisetty said that the News and Information category was one of the biggest gainers in terms of both reach and engagement. "It was not just the elections that drove the engagement, what we have observed is that news and information as a category converts traction to engagement. As a category, news was number five in terms of reach earlier and now it has moved up to number three," he concluded.