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Star Sports steps up its game with Star Sports Pro and VIP to rival JioCinema

Ahead of the IPL, the platform is providing exclusive features to viewers, such as match highlights, in-depth stats - all within a live match.

In a move to bring digital features to traditional television, Disney-owned Indian media company Star has launched Star Sports Pro and VIP, exclusively on DTH service providers Tata Play and Airtel Digital TV. The network made the announcement just ahead of the commencement of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Fans can enjoy interactive features available on the service including ‘Real-time Highlights’, ‘Key Moments’, and ‘Comprehensive Statistics’. The on-demand statistics available to viewers on the touch of a button are powered by ESPN Cricinfo’s revered statistical database.  

Star Sports Pro Stats feed
Star Sports Pro Stats feed

Other features include an ‘Ambience feed’, which provides viewers the option of turning off commentary while experiencing unhindered in-stadia sound and a first-of-its-kind ‘Subtitled Feed’ which will provide subtitles for commentary during the live match. The live subtitling is powered by a combination of an innovative workflow and AI.

Star Sports Pro's Subtitle Feed powered by AI
Star Sports Pro's Subtitle Feed powered by AI

Apart from interactive features for consumers, Star is also introducing the concept of 'Holobox' - 3D tech innovation that allows fans to 'teleport' and interact with commentators. The platform has also unveiled the 'social listening tool', which allows real-time fan polling through any social platform to promote fan engagement. Other tech innovations employed for this year's IPL include Hawkeye 4kCam, Xeebra Quad Replay, and the VR immersive Cricket Game.

Commenting on the introduction of these interactive features, a Star Sports spokesperson said, "We have always believed that Tata IPL 2023 should be a hotbed for innovation in the world of live sports broadcast. Our coverage, in association with BCCI, should aim to set global standards. As viewing experiences enter a new era, we want to make sure that we are always pushing boundaries, to serve fans."

"Our continuous focus on fan behaviour has led us to develop features which complement the viewing spectacle of IPL and still offer the comfort of the lean-back TV experience, which fans love."

The features were first introduced through an ad film, that featured cricketer Rohit Sharma.

The Indian Cricket Team captain took to screen to demonstrate the new features offered by the platform. Interestingly, the ad shows an entire family sitting together to watch the IPL, something Star has been consistently trying to promote for the past few weeks, ahead of the tournament.

Star’s new features that are seemingly unorthodox in TV broadcasting of sports, appear to counter the new-age viewing capabilities of JioCinema. Viacom18’s digital streaming platform has been betting big on its exclusive digital features for the IPL, including multiple in-game camera angles, 4k viewing and detailed real-time analysis. 

Ever since the IPL broadcasting rights were distributed to Star and JioCinema, the two companies have been going at each other to gain maximum viewership.

As the IPL kicks off, the battle between the broadcasters rages on.

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