Report on Hindi News Viewership

Live sports see greater push from OTT platforms in India

A ReedSeer report states the most consumed content on OTTs in 2020 was sports.


KOLKATA: 2020 was the year when it became evident that OTT platforms are here to stay for the long haul, given their massive adoption across the country. International and homegrown streamers are now gunning for a market which could reach $4 billion by 2025. And to onboard as many consumers as possible, these streaming services are tapping into live sports in a big way as they continue to build up their content portfolios.

A recent report by ReedSeer stated that sports content was the most consumed content on OTTs in 2020, with an overall 13 per cent hike in viewership across platforms. After a hiatus of live sports during the stringent lockdown, there was a growth in sports content during September 2020 to January 2021. This was the time when the showstopper of cricket, the Indian Premier League (IPL) also aired. New theatrical movie releases failed to draw audiences, who stuck to the safety of watching cricket on the small screens, the report indicated.

Globally, ratings and revenues of linear TV are tanking. Tech giants have joined the fray of bidding for live sports rights, with Amazon securing rights from back in 2017. The Jeff Bezos led company has dabbled in rights for baseball, football, tennis and popular leagues including UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, National Football League etc. Facebook, too, started buying sports rights but might take the route of partnerships in order to cut costs. Sports streaming service DAZN also rolled out its global expansion in 2020, terming it the year of landmark growth.

However, the linear TV market scenario is altogether different in India. Rather than degrowth, it holds the potential for higher penetration yet. The rights of all major sports events are still with traditional broadcasters. But lately, a number of major OTT platforms have thrown their hats in the ring. KPMG in India conducted a dipstick survey of 763 respondents across 10 cities in 2020 , where more than 65 per cent of them indicated that sports was one of the top three genres on OTT platforms.

Take for instance Disney+ Hotstar, which vastly grew its subscribers base thanks to IPL 2020. Disney senior EVP and CFO Christine McCarthy said in an investors call that Disney+ Hotstar had the highest contribution to Disney+’s overall subscriber base, courtesy the IPL. The opening match of the league’s 2020 edition delivered 8.4 peak concurrent viewers. Along with boosting subscriber count, the tournament also helped rake in advertising revenue. While cricket has been key to the platform’s growth, it has access to a number of local and niche sports rights due to Star India.

Another broadcaster-led OTT platform, SonyLIV has been active in the sports segment because of its parent company. It hosted marquee events like FIFA, and many international cricket tours of the Indian team. In a bid to expand its sports portfolio, SonyLIV has recently introduced WWE to its viewers, holding the exclusive rights in India. Interestingly, it has launched the WWE Network pack, curated specially for fans of pro wrestling. The move comes at a time when the pay-per-view model is gaining traction in India.

One of the major shake-ups in live streaming of sports in the country was Amazon Prime Video’s foray into streaming rights. It announced its debut into live sports in India by acquiring the India territory rights for the New Zealand Cricket through 2025-2026. With this first step, it has struck a chord with desi sports lovers, again having a localised approach to sports too. Amazon Prime Video country manager Gaurav Gandhi told FT that the platform would not ignore further opportunities to secure cricket rights. It’s worth bearing in mind that Disney+Hotstar’s IPL rights expire in 2023 when Prime Video could make a bid for them.

It is very evident at this point that sports viewership will be instrumental in OTT consumption growth. So it comes as no surprise that players with no previous association with live sports are getting into this space. Case in point being Eros Now, which recently announced a streaming and branding partnership with the 2020 Abu Dhabi T10 Tournament. As part of the multi-year deal, Eros Now live streamed the popular cricket tournament in significant international markets such as Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, USA and Canada. Moreover, the south Asian OTT is team Abu Dhabi’s title sponsor. It can be a good boost for the platform which is looking to spread its wings in the international market.

Additionally, OTT platforms are fighting to secure online gaming rights as well. Video streaming platform Voot has bagged streaming rights for Poker Sports League (PSL), being hosted virtually this year. Other leading platforms like Zee5, MX Player, Disney+Hotstar, Jio TV were also in talks with PSL. Earlier, the tournament was broadcast on Discovery Communications India’s DSports channel for the past two seasons – yet another marker of the shift of eyeballs from linear TV to online video platforms during the pandemic.

Despite the growth, there are some infrastructural challenges regarding content delivery during live sports on OTT, need for ultra-low latency. The roll-out of 5G internet will be a boon for live sports, and other real-time events on video streaming services. It will be fascinating to see how aggressively these players push for sporting rights in the next five-ten years, and how long sports broadcasting will remain the domain of traditional broadcasters in India.

Latest Reads

Kevin Pietersen Picks His Favourite T20 World Cup Players

Kevin Pietersen selects three of his nation's top players for his own T20 World Cup team following England's thrilling victory over Pakistan in the championship game. Jos Buttler and Alex Hales were chosen by Pietersen. Together, both openers contributed the crucial runs to England's scoreboard and...

iWorld e-commerce
With choreographer Raju, Asif emerges as the winner of aha’s ‘Dance Ikon’

Mumbai: After a successful 13-week run, the popular Telugu dance reality show Dance Ikon has finally come to an end. It has been one of the top-rated Telugu shows on the streaming platform Aha.

iWorld Over The Top Services
GUEST ARTICLE: Five short format content marketing strategies that OTT platforms use to promote their properties

It’s almost the end of 2022, and the sentence I have said almost every day this year is that short-form video content is the key to marketing. At By The Gram (BTG), we work with numerous OTT platforms and are responsible for marketing all of the many great movies/shows.

iWorld Over The Top Services
StudioBackdrops.com registers 146% annual growth since its inception

Studiobackdrops.com (SBDC), an e-commerce platform for photography, videography, & audio solutions, announced on Monday that it has registered 146 per cent growth between 2016 and 2022. The total size of the company is expected to reach Rs 50+ crore by 2025.

iWorld e-commerce
Brazilian Footballer Ronaldinho joins Koo

Former soccer player Ronaldinho has joined Koo. His Koo handle is @ronaldinho. Ronaldinho joined the platform, and posted in Portuguese, English, and multiple Indian languages. Such behaviour as posting in multiple languages is unique to Koo.

iWorld Social Media
GUEST ARTICLE: Is investing in start-ups viable in the post-covid era?

Mumbai: The internet has boosted the startup scene all over the world, including India. Many homegrown startups have not only attracted a good customer base but are seeing investors of all sizes plug their money at different stages of the startups’ expansion in their respective markets. Here’s why...

iWorld Over The Top Services
IAMAI highlights willful misinterpretation & ill-conceived recommendations on draft telecom bill 

Mumbai: In a statement issued on Friday, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) expressed outrage at the regression and denigration of the debate over regulating the digital economy. Far from the government's stated goal of creating a trillion-dollar digital economy, the telecom...

iWorld Telecom
MX Player wins bronze for LGBT+ inclusion at IWEI 2022

Mumbai: MX Player has been recognised as a top employer at the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) 2022. MX Player has been honoured with the bronze badge, which recognises the development of inclusive policies and the initiation of activities that promote LGBT+ inclusion at work. MX Player has...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Gamitronics & Big Viking Games announce strategic partnership

Mumbai: Developer of PartyNite, Gamitronics, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Canadian gaming major, Big Viking Games (BVG), to fuel the blockchain technology-led metaverse platform's global expansion.

iWorld Over The Top Services