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Taking the IPL Cricket Live sponsorship was great: Byjus’ Atit Mehta

The closer the match was, the higher was the viewership and engagement, he says.

New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) provides a fabulous bang for the buck. Many a marketer has testified to its effectiveness over the years and more so recently with the explosion in interest in the tournament. One company which has been exponentially increasing its exposure in the willow game, and more so in the IPL is ed-tech unicorn BYJUs. got into a conversation with BYJU’s marketing head Atit Mehta on its deepening relationship with the game and the IPL in particular.

Edited excerpts from the conversation:

IPL 2020 witnessed record TV viewership this time. What was done to leverage the tournament better this time, compared to previous years?

Cricket was coming back after a long hiatus of six months. The Indian consumers were waiting for some live sports, so it made sense, plus it was during the festive season. We did nothing different. We just ensured that what we do best in terms of partnering with the broadcaster and ensuring that our presence is there on all the matches. The only big addition last year was taking the Cricket Live sponsorship which was great. BYJU’s cricket live was a pre and post-show on IPL. We had sponsored that. We had launched the classes in mid-May and when IPL started in September we started this.

As marketers, our number one objective is to reach the audience. So, whichever genre and platform is giving the audiences, the focus and weightage of that platform will go up. Cricket is something that is followed by masses, especially the student community, so it makes sense to be part of the cricket ecosystem.

Compared to the pre-IPL days, what are the impacts you have seen on the app/ website growth?

The growth during the lockdown was phenomenal. Pre-IPL, we were at a particular baseline, and during and post IPL, the downloads went up by a far margin. It is a testimony of the fact that IPL and cricket in general is something that works well for us and we will continue following the approach going forward as well. At present, BYJUs has 80 million subscribers and 5.5 million paid subscribers. The average time spent by a subscriber on the app daily is 71 minutes.

Past reports show spot spikes and higher engagement on match days for advertisers during IPL. Could you help us understand how it played out for BYJUs?

It’s difficult to specify in terms of data. But it was team agnostic. The engagement was more, the closer the match was. The closer the match was, the higher was the viewership. This means that more and more people are spending time on television. That point in time, if someone has taken a call to action or downloaded the app, the engagement will be more.

BYJUs has been consistently investing in cricket tournaments. Also, this time, it was on a much bigger scale than before. What led to this decision?

Our belief is that for a student to excel in life, it is not only about the academic understanding of subjects. Sports teaches you, what no other discipline can. Sports and education go hand in hand for BYJU’s because we believe that the overall development of the child is also contributed by his experience outside the classroom. That’s why cricket plays an integral role.

Last year, it was also a function of what kind of series and tournaments are being organized. If you look at 2021, we will have four marquee events as far as cricket is concerned. We will have the IPL, the Asia Cup, hopefully we will have the world test championship if India qualifies and then the T20 World Cup in October-December this year. So, depending upon the tournaments and series which are getting scheduled, the investment proportion will accordingly change.

BYJUs also had the title sponsorship for the pre-match show 'BYJU’s Cricket Live', which coincided with the launch of BYJU’s classes. How was the response?

The response has been quite good and the reason we did that is if you look at the pre-post show, apart from the entertainment value which it has, it also has lots of experts coming and talking about the game of cricket, what worked, what did not work, what strategy was used, what should they have done, if they had done this something else would have happened, lot of intelligent conversation goes in. It's like a masterclass happening, it's sort of an expert view and given BYJUs’ stance for expertise in the online learning space, it’s a clear fit. That’s the reason we had taken it.

We were the co-presenting sponsor of IPL 2020, we were also the title sponsor of BYJU’s cricket live. At any point of time when people were watching IPL, the coverage and visibility of BYJU’s is round the four and half -five hours of telecast coverage. It just adds up a lot of surrounding sound to the entire campaign. From that aspect, IPL really helped us.

With the IPL planning to return to India, what are your plans for 2021?

We don’t do anything on the ground as far as IPL is concerned. For us, it is more about the telecast. We don’t know what’s going to happen for IPL 2021. Expectation is that it will happen in India. As a cricket lover, I want IPL to happen in India.

Any favourite teams that you’d like to share and why?

I don’t have a “favourite-favourite” team but I follow some players. If those players are playing in a particular team, that team becomes my favourite one. If you ask me, my favourite team, I would rate Kings XI Punjab as my favourite team.

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