IPL ownership, key BCCI rights put Star India in position of advantage: ICICI Securities Media Content Meter

BENGALURU: ICICI Securities released a Media Content Meter report today. The report titled Sports – Battle heats up commenced saying that this month was marked by two significant events in Indian sport broadcasting industry: 1) The Supreme Court restrained Prasar Bharti from giving live feed of sport events of national importance to cable TV and private DTH platforms; and 2) Star India won TV and digital broadcasting rights for IPL for Rs 163.5 billion. With sport viewership in India largely dependent on cricket, ICICI Securities believes the ownership of IPL and key BCCI rights puts Star India in position of advantage.

The report mentions the rise in the value of the Indian Premier League (cricket, IPL). The payout per season for the broadcast and the digital rights rose by two and a half times and thirteen times respectively. Even the payout for the title sponsorship of the IPL had increased by 1.8 times- Vivo paid Rs 4.4 billion for the title sponsorship for a period of five years (2018 to 2022) against the Rs 1 billion paid for a period of two years (2016 and 2017).

Sports leagues, including homegrown leagues, other than cricket were also gaining traction in India. Among the homegrown leagues, Star Sports has the rights to a majority of successful leagues such as Indian Super League- Football (ISL), the Premier Badminton League (PBL) and the Pro Kabbadi League (PKL). Sony has the rights to the Premier Futsal League - Football and Pro Wrestling League.

The report says that the Supreme Court decision will help boost up viewership of Star Sports channels and its ability to price channels as pay-TV subscribers will no longer have access to free cricket. With control over so many sports, Star India should be able to command higher ad rates and this was evident from Star India’s exorbitant ad rates during the recent India Australia series.

In the content space, the report highlights some key developments. These include Zeel’s launch of premium English movie channels &Prive HD, which was fourth channel in the English premium movie genre. Sony Entertainment Television (SET) plans to launch a sub-brand – SET-Originals by the end of 2017. SET-Originals will focus on premium audience-featuring premium content such as concerts, finite series and home grown shows. Further, Sony is also planning to launch a number of new shows in the near future. Colors was also strengthening its weekend programming. Also, Star Plus after re-launching afternoon slots about six months back has decided to shut it down.

The report says that in the Hindi GEC market, Sony has been gaining market share on the back of the ninth season of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), while Zee TV and &TV were gaining in Hindi GEC all day viewership. Star India’s rebranded Hindi GEC channel Star Bharat gained marketshare with new shows.

Among the non-South regional channels, in the Marathi space, Zee Marathi was the unchallenged leader, while Star Jalsha led in the largely two-player Bangla space, the other contender being Zee Bangla.

In the South Indian regional space, Star Vijay and Star Maa gained in the Tamil and the Telugu spaces respectively on the back of Bigg Boss. While Sun TV was the absolute leader in terms of viewership in the Tamil market, Bigg Boss helped Star Vijay bag additional viewers in the primetime band.

In the Telugu GEC regional space, Gemini TV had slipped to third place in terms of all day viewership. During primetime, Zee Telugu and Star Maa were neck-to-neck. In the Kannada GEC space, Zee Kannada was closing in on leader Colors Kannada, in terms of all-day viewership, though Colors Kannada was a leader during primetime. In the Malayalam GEC space Asianet ruled the all-day and primetime viewership.

In the annexure to the report, ICICI shared some interesting numbers on viewership share of the Hindi GEC space during primetime starting 1930 hours until 2330 hours. For every half hour from 1730 hours to 2000 hours, Star Plus had the highest viewership share. Colors programmes led the viewership game in the 2000 hours to 2030 hours slot, while Sony SAB led in the 2030 to 2100 time slot. The 2100 to 2130 slot belongs to Zee TV in terms of viewership. Star Plus programmes had led in the 2130 hours to 2200 hours earlier, but in the recent past, it is Zee TV programmes that had the highest viewership share.

Star Plus programmes have the highest viewership share in the 2200 to 2230 time slot. Over the past few weeks, Colors programmes have had the highest viewership share in the 2230 to 2300 hours, while Sony programmes leads in terms of viewership share during the 2300 hours to 2330 hours time slot.

On the OTT front, Amazon Prime announced six new comedy series created by some of India’s top comedians. The report says that Amazon is after regional content also, including exclusive digital rights as well as streaming rights before the television premiere of a few Telugu films. Pan-regional OTT service Viu was also planning to launch four new original shows by the end of December 2017 in Hindi and Telugu languages.

Note: (1) In the specific case of KBC, the ICICI Securities report generally refers to weeks 26 to 38 of 2017, while in the case of primetime and all-day viewership, the charts in the report cover quarterly periods starting from Q3-15 until Q2-18. The report states that the numbers for Q2-18 are estimates.

(2) This article does not reflect the opinion of The Indian Television Dot Com Pvt Ltd. Group or any of its constituent people, employees, consultants and associates.

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