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Star spending up to Rs 2 cr on production per IPL match

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MUMBAI: After having bought rights for almost all important sporting properties in India, Star India had the massive task to ensure that it sets a new benchmark for cricket. In February, it won the audio-visual production rights for IPL 2018, making it the first time that a broadcaster is producing IPL as till last year, the production rights was with the BCCI.

Star hired 'Why Project' a management company based in London. About 28-32 cameras are being used for every match include drones swooping around all stadiums but Kolkata (where it didn’t get the permission) for the first time. A total of 16 DSNG OB vans are used for the live telecast of a match. Eight vans work on the world feed, four on the Hindi feed and rest on the regional feeds. The English feeds are being transmitted to other countries like the US and New Zealand. Two levels of quality check are done on the feeds, firstly the ground check then comes the Star India's office and then goes on to uplink.

Star has added Marathi and Malayalam feeds for the IPL finale as well. On the decision to do so, a Star India spokesperson said, “On social media there was a lot of demand for the Marathi commentary. The attempt is to make the broadcast of the finals available to the widest possible audience. Any region that we felt was potentially underserved by our current offering, we decided to add it to the mix which is Marathi and Malayalam." Star Pravah and Asianet will be the channels to host the respective languages.

It also provides tailor-made content for core cricket followers contextualised with a deep and passionate understanding from expert commentators and panellists through Select Dugout on Star Sports Select. It is an experience that extends beyond traditional ball-by-ball commentary, providing fans with a richer analytical experience, interactive demos with experts, before, after as well as during the matches. Star even added new arenas like a gaming experience WatchN’Play as well as virtual reality feeds.

“We want the IPL finals to be a landmark event in Indian television, 17 channels will be airing it in eight different languages. The production cost of a match in IPL ranges from Rs 60 lakh to Rs 2 crore depending on the match. 700-800 people together are working hard towards the production of IPL 2018 including the regional feeds," the spokesperson added.

Being practical, Star doesn't hope to sell much inventory on the newly added feeds. 

The IPL finals will be telecast on 17 different feeds across the Star network - Star Sports 1 English, Star Sports 1 HD English, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Select SD English, Star Sports 1 Select HD English, Star Plus SD, Star Plus HD, Star Pravah SD, Star Pravah HD, Star Gold SD, Star Gold HD, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Movies, Star Jalsha Movies and Asianet Movies.

According to the numbers provided by the broadcaster, its OTT platform, Hotstar was viewed by 5.5 million viewers in virtual reality (VR) in week six. 30-35 per cent of the viewers watched it live and the remaining watched it in highlights.

The same team is ensuring that content is being churned out on both TV and digital. Reports suggest that Star may also want to rein in homemakers by airing playoffs and finals on Star Plus.

It introduced several regional feeds to hook new viewers but sources say that the incremental from there will not be more than 10 per cent. On Hotstar, it found that the highest concurrency in a match was around seven million and it has increased the bandwidth to 10 million. The highest concurrency which Star India has witnessed apart from IPL was in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 of around 5.5 million.

Nevertheless, any technical work is bound to have some glitches and Star isn’t immune to them. Viewers have mentioned about screens freezing and the DRS review replay being that of a different match. But the agility that Star is known for will ensure it resolves these as they crop up.

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