Star India’s online video streaming platform, hotstar, is expecting to cross 100 million viewers in the upcoming IPL, from approximately 41 million users last year. It is also in news for getting some big sponsors for the ninth season of Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) on board including brands like Flipkart, Raymond, Axe, Volini, Lloyd, Hindware, Hero Fincorp, Airtel and Amazon. It’s expecting more sponsors as the tournament draws near (scheduled to start on April 9).
The growing interest from advertisers’ on this platform (launched last year) cannot be overlooked and the numbers prove it. Ajit Mohan, President and Head, hotstar explained this trend and said, “Two years ago digital consumption was 2% of TV and today it is almost 40-45%. So advertisers are convinced that if they want to reach live sport audience they have to advertise on hotstar. There has been massive growth first on starsports.com then on hotstar at a time when TV ratings have been more or less flat. So advertisers have found it a compelling medium. Additional advantage is this audience is more affluent, urban and have lot more money to spend than TV audience, which is working for these advertisers. There’s lot of interest from different categories like e-commerce, consumer goods, payment wallets and mobile companies. We are talking to fair number of players across travel and healthcare. Telecom is consistent category and some categories are looking for growth. Since it has an affluent audience it will be attractive for them (advertisers).”
Mohan is expecting increased viewership in top six cities for hotstar which currently has crossed 50 million downloads. “It’s going to be the largest screen, bigger than television in urban India. More importantly it has established itself over the last 12 months. We are pretty confident that we will be able to cross 100 million users in terms of reach,” he added.
The confidence comes from new programming schedule lined up during IPL, which is another way to attract advertisers and viewership. He divulges more, “This is the first time we are doing full programming around IPL. For sponsors there is compelling content including pre-and post-match shows, daily and weekly round-up, product integration like full scorecard and highlights from the matches in the context of the live video itself, added exclusively for this year.”
It can be understood that the ad inventory is more extensive than last year. Mohan agrees but chooses to stay discreet about the numbers, adding, “Definitely we are seeing lot more advertisers and outlays than last year, given there’s new programming.”