Venkata Susmita Biswas

IPL Ad Revenue: Digital outperforms TV; JioCinema rakes in ~Rs 2,300 crore

Star Sports' ad revenue is estimated to be in the range of Rs 1,800-2,000 crore.

Making the Indian Premier League (IPL) free to stream on the JioCinema seems to have worked in favour of the platform this year. According to highly placed sources, the official streaming partner for Tata IPL 2023 has raked in about Rs 2,300- 2,500 crore in advertising revenue. Industry insiders peg the television ad revenue to hover around Rs 1,800-2,000 crore.

In 2022, Disney+ Hotstar, which then held the streaming rights for IPL, earned about Rs 1,100 crore in ad revenue according to a report by Kotak Institutional Equities. Last year Disney Star cornered about Rs 4,000 crore in ad revenue from the annual cricketing league. 

It is worth noting that JioCinema has lost out on subscription revenue by offering the IPL for free. On Disney+ Hotstar, IPL was placed behind a paywall and the IPL season gave a fillip to Disney+ Hotstar's paid subscriber base.

For instance, in 2022, Disney+ Hotstar's paid subscriber base grew from 50.1 million in the January-March quarter to 58.4 million in the April-June quarter. Users who watched the IPL last year could have opted for a basic mobile-only subscription plan that costs Rs 499 annually, the Rs 899 per year plan allows users to stream content on televisions and two devices simultaneously or had an aggregated offer through telecom companies or other service providers.

In addition, three of JioCinema's significant sponsors during IPL 2023 were part of the Reliance group — JioMart (Co-powered by), Jio (Associate Sponsor), and AJIO.

Both JioCinema and Disney Star did not respond to emails from afaqs!.

Media buyers say that in a tough market, brands tightened purse strings and spent their ad dollars judiciously. “Brands picked a medium and spent a chunk of their ad budgets on a single medium instead of dividing the budget across both mediums,” said one senior media buying professional on the condition of anonymity. The executive added that Star Sports pulled out all the stops for IPL this year by broadcasting it on FTA channels and GECs to maximise the reach of IPL on television. 

A senior executive from one of India’s largest media buying firms revealed that the quantum of money brands spent on digital through the agency was double that of last year. “Streaming IPL for free made all the difference,” the source said.  

The peak concurrency on JioCinema for the IPL final was 3.2 crore ( as per the number of concurrent viewers is displayed on the screen during live streaming). JioCinema claims it registered a total of 1,700 crore video views and 12 crore unique viewers through the 16th edition of IPL. 

The highest concurrency that Disney+ Hotstar achieved was 2.5 crore in 2019 during an ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final game between India and New Zealand. Last year Disney+ Hotstar garnered 1.9 crore concurrent users for a match between India and Pakistan during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and 1.3 million concurrent users for another India-Pakistan match during the Asia Cup tournament.

According to Star Sports, the clash between Gujarat Titans and the Mumbai Indians (Qualifier 2) registered a peak TV Concurrency of 6.1 crore (2+ U+R including OOH). The television broadcaster claims it reached 49.6 crore viewers and 40,902 crore minutes of consumption until the finals. This is the highest viewership the channel has recorded for IPL.

Twenty-six brands partnered with JioCinema for IPL 2023, including Dream11, JioMart, PhonePe, Tiago EV, Jio, Appy Fizz, ET Money, Castrol, TVS, Oreo, Bingo, Sting, AJIO, Haier, RuPay, Louis Philippe Jeans, Amazon, Rapido, Ultra Tech Cement, Puma, Kamla Pasand, Kingfisher Power Soda, Jindal Panther TMT Rebar, Saudi Tourism, Spotify and AMFI.  

Star Sports roped in Dream 11, Asian Paints, Thums Up, Airtel, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Mountain Dew, Parle Biscuits, Kamala Pasand, RuPay, Britannia, Tata Neu, Jindal Panther and LIC.

With inputs from Benita Chacko

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