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Hotstar targets Rs 150 crore plus revenue from IPL 2017 streaming

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MUMBAI: Is video on demand streaming service Hotstar cooking up a good revenue platter this IPL 10 season? Well, if some media reports are to be believed, then, it is. Anywhere between Rs 150-200 crore is what it is likely to serve onto the Star India top line. The figure for IPL was a much lower estimated Rs 65 crore.

The Novi Digital-owned service yesterday announced the on-boarding of Chinese mobile maker Vivo and auto major Maruti Suzuki as presenting sponsors for Vivo IPL 2017. The sticker price has not been specified. All that the release states is that the sponsorships are “believed to be sizeable investments from companies of a scale that has not been seen in the Indian digital market to date and indicate their belief in Hotstar’s promise of delivering the largest global sporting event on digital this summer.”

Media reports have speculated that the figure each is anteing up is Rs 20 crore.

According to Hotstar, advertisers and media agencies are signing fatter cheques because of the fact there has been a meaningful shift from television to digital -- especially, as far as cricket viewing is concerned. The release states that “the most recent India vs England ODI series saw Hotstar’s reach challenging that of television consistently. The reach hit 120 per cent of television in cities with more than a million in population and 147 per cent reach in the largest six cities in India (M15+, NCCS AB). At the same time, the platform has seen new records established for digital with the short format cricket matches regularly exceeding 20 million in viewership.”

Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan is quite confident that the pioneering app is going to be the primary screen for this IPL season considering the 130 million viewers who are streaming video nationally.

“Marketers are recognizing that these are audiences that are TV light or not present on television at all,” he points out. “We are reinventing the experience of cricket on a mobile and India is changing the way it watches its favourite sport.” Mohan told the media that the OTT player crossed had 200 million downloads by end February 2017. This is against the 50 million downloads, Star India CEO Uday Shankar had announced during the FICCI Frames inaugural keynote in March 2016.

The streaming service’s contract with the BCCI is slated to end this year as it had paid Rs 302.2 crore to acquire the global internet and mobile rights three years ago.

Vivo India CMO Vivek Zhang says he took the decision to partner with Hotstar as it appeals to the youth and enjoys tremendous brand recall. “Its desire to constantly invest on innovative technology which is in line with Vivo’s marketing objectives made it a preferred choice for Vivo We are truly excited about the delightful cricket experience that the platform is driving and were indeed keen to be a part of this drive,” he stated

Maruti Suzuki marketing head Sanjeev Handa acknowledged that an increasing number of the auto firm’s target customer is engaging with the company’s products on digital. According to him, almost 50 per cent of users are researching cars online and hence a diffusion of the purchase cycle is taking place here. “Hence, our approach is integrating offline and online, (it is a ground sponsor of this year's IPL),” points out Handa.

“We wanted to embody the spirit of Play Glamourous for Vitara Brezza across the markets, and found a perfect fit by reaching out to the audiences via their closest screens, i.e. mobiles. An average user is spending over 150 mins each day on mobile. Our tie-up as co-presenting sponsor on Hotstar will give us the mileage and the engagement with the most glamourous sport in the nation!”

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