Companies scramble to score on all three screens that matter today — TV, computer and mobile.
The deal between the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Google has done far more than just organising live streaming of cricket matches on an exclusive YouTube channel. It has also brought brands like HP, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Airtel, HSBC and Royal Challenge to the web and, of course, over 10 million internet users to sports websites (according to comScore data).
Advertising gurus always say you have a winner in your hands if the biggest brands latch on to it. This couldn’t be illustrated any better than the coming together of IPL and Google. Suddenly, brands that were a bit iffy about cyber space are lapping up the chance to catch more eyeballs. It’s a great opportunity for digital media companies to cash in on.
An added attraction this year is the IPL-Google tie-up for the live streaming of matches on YouTube. One look at the number of subscribers this channel has already garnered is enough to realise that the internet audience is set for the third edition of the IPL.
In terms of channel views, the first day of IPL saw the number going up 84 per cent to 880,615 by the second half of the day from 478,057 in the first half. By Sunday, it had crossed 3.1 millions. While questions remain unanswered over how good the streaming quality will be, clearly no one is writing off video streams as a potential blockbuster medium this season.
Sites like Kyazoonga.com and Bookmyshow.com started selling online IPL tickets from the first edition itself. But it’s only now that they feel there will be some heavy action. Kyazoonga.com accounted for about a quarter of the IPL tickets sold in Mumbai and Delhi.
Bookmyshow.com has tied up with three IPL teams. Over 25 per cent of the IPL tickets are sold online and cricket matches are the second biggest revenue generators for online ticketing portals.
Already, traffic to e-ticketing sites is heating up. Tendulkar’s double hundred against South Africa boosted ticket sales for Mumbai Indians.
“Tickets worth over Rs 1 crore were sold after the record-breaking double ton by the master blaster,” says Ashish Hemrajani of Bookmyshow. Page views for IPL tickets on the site also increased by more than 9,000 views a day. Total ticket sales crossed Rs 1.6 crore for Mumbai Indians and Rs 3.5 crore for Kings XI Punjab as on March 2, 2010.
In the first season of IPL, Kyazoongahad sold about 25 per cent of tickets for IPL matches in Mumbai and Delhi.
Gaming portals, such as Zapak and Indiagames, have readied several games around T20 and IPL, which are priced at Rs 10-99 per download.
Indiagames, which has bought the official gaming rights of the IPL tournament, will be launching a series of web and mobile apps over the next 45 days. This season, T20 Fever, a game based on IPL 3 will cross the five million download mark, according to Vishal Gondal, CEO of Indiagames.
As for Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani’s Zapak, the portal has launched a website zapakcricket.com with over 30 games themed on cricket. On an average, the portal sees 15-20 million page views a month. During the last season of IPL, Zapak recorded 40 million page views. That is expected to grow at least 25 per cent this time. The company also has a fantasy cricket game. “Last year, fantasy cricket witnessed 100,000 participants and, this year, we will double the base,” said Arun Mehra, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment.
Mobile TV technology leader Apalya Technologies is bullish about doubling its existing one million mobile subscriber base on the back of the IPL rush. It has tied up with several mobile operators for the service. PC users can also enjoy live video action through Tata Photon mobile data cards. For those using only GPRS-enabled cellphones, July Systems has launched an optimised mobile internet service that suits low bandwidth networks. An estimated 40 million handsets are GPRS-enabled in the country today and they can access live ball-by-ball video updates, action replays and video score cards by calling toll-free number 08123 123123, or by accessing m.iplt20.com.
With contributions from Shivani Shinde and Priyanka Joshi