Television

Sony Six rakes in ad rev from BBL despite slow start

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MUMBAI: The second most popular domestic T20 cricket tournament in the world after Indian Premier League (IPL) is Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL). The Cricket Australia rights, which were with Star India from 2011-12 to 2016-17, have now been acquired by Sony Pictures Network (SPN) India for the next six years till 2022-23.

After losing the media rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to rival Star India, SPN has gone ahead and acquired the exclusive media rights of Cricket Australia–men’s international matches for the next six years, beginning with the Magellan Ashes series in November 2017. The network has also acquired the media rights for women’s international cricket played in Australia, the BBL and the Women’s BBL.

According to All India BARC data, for the first 11 matches of the league on Star Sports 2, including the HD and the SD feeds, in the 2016-17 season, the channel got 6.4 million impressions. SPN India, however, garnered just 4.3 million impressions for the same number of matches, which were being telecast on Sony Six SD and HD.

Collocation of channels plays an important role in attracting viewers. On most direct-to-home (DTH) platforms, the sports cluster begins with the Star Sports bouquet.

Both networks in their first 11 matches had eight advertisers on board each but Star Sports (2016) had 2764 ad insertions compared to 3469 insertions on Sony (2017), an increase of 26 per cent according to BARC data.

Though Cricket Australia considers Star India a favourite, it is learnt that after winning the IPL rights, the broadcaster was not very keen on paying a hefty sum for the Australia rights. SPN’s payout for the deal could not be ascertained till the filing of this report.

Cricket Australia has been targeting $200 million per year from all the broadcasting deals. In Australia, Channel Ten paid $100 million for a five-year deal which expires at the end of the current season.

Apart from Cricket Australia, SPN has five international cricket boards—South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The ongoing cricket series is the India tour of South Africa.

Interestingly, fans seem to prefer Sony’s over-the-top (OTT) platform SonyLiv for sporting events despite the choice of entertainment shows it offers. At present, more than a third of SonyLiv’s traffic is garnered by its sporting properties.

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