Cricket lovers can now watch the Indian Premier League (IPL) live on internet portal YouTube. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will partner with Google India to stream live matches of its domestic IPL league in the Twenty20 format.
Google’s video streaming internet portal YouTube will stream live matches of IPL-III, which begins in March. This will include 44 days of IPL, with 59 matches.
YouTube already has a video channel for IPL. It was launched during IPL-II and exclusively streamed highlights of the matches played then, as well as the inaugural session and the award ceremony. The latest development is an extension of what YouTube offered its users. Users, on the other hand, can view the matches on YouTube free of cost.
The announcement is likely to be made on Wednesday. However, it’s not clear if the rights have been sold for a specific period of years to Google or whether it’s a revenue-sharing deal.
While Multi Screen Media (formerly known as Sony Entertainment and the company that owns SET Max, which airs IPL) holds the satellite telecast rights, the global media rights are held by World Sports Group (WSG), which implies BCCI cannot sell the new media rights to any other company. According to sources, WSG’s rights only include telecast rights.
However, when contacted, WSG President (South Asia) Venu Nair declined to comment on the issue, but added: “We are not aware of any partnership between IPL & Google and cannot comment on what is not relevant to WSG,” he said.
On the other hand, Multi Screen Media President Rohit Gupta said: “Live streaming of IPL on YouTube will help create buzz and excitement around the league. It does not affect our viewership, as the core viewers remain with television.”
Search giant Google is one of the most popular online properties in India. For instance, Google.Co.In attracts 31.6 million unique users (UUs) per month and has an India reach of 73.6 per cent, with 2,832 million page views per month, according to a report by audience measurement agency Vizisense.
Meanwhile, Google.Com gets 28.8 million UUs per month. Its social networking property, Orkut, attracts 15.3 million UUs per month and has 2,548 million page views monthly. Among video-sharing sites, Google’s YouTube scores again. It gets 10.9 million UUs per month.