With online streaming of IPL hitting a high note, IPL has become a digital favourite this year. On StarSports.com, the series has generated more than a million unique visitors every day during the first week of the tournament. During the period, Starsports.com attracted around 47 lakh unique visitors across web and mobile delivering just more than a crore consumer visits.
Starsports.com is indulging in heavy campaigning to promote the online streaming of the matches. Its marketing campaign ‘Keep Calm, Kanna, Keep Calm’ ('Keep calm and watch Pepsi IPL' says Starsports.com) has received rave reviews across all social media platforms. Recognizing the growing popularity of IPL on digital medium, many online brands have come up as prominent sponsors as well. While online streaming has attracted HUL as the presenting sponsor and Amazon.in, Toyota, ITC Personal Care and Reckitt Benckiser as associate sponsors, brands like social messaging app WeChat, mobile commerce platform Paytm and ecommerce players like Fashionara all are trying to bask in the glory of IPL. Even the most popular and loved character Vodafone Zoozoo returned on the scene with the Pepsi IPL. WeChat sponsors sections on Pepsi IPL Extra Innings; Paytm has launched a campaign wherein it launched a mega shopping festival from 16th April with availability of IPL merchandise on its mobile marketplace giving upto 200 per cent cashback. Many digital brands are linking their campaigns and offers with IPL due to its growing presence on digital platforms.
Amit Chopra, Network Sales Head,STAR India, added, “The most innovative advertisers in India are recognizing the power of the mobile screen. Many of them have been hesitant in the past about investing in video ads online, given the sketchy delivery of both content and ads. We have been able to offer a powerful proposition to these advertisers by delivering a great video experience and a highly engaged sports fan.”
Twitter seems to be the most popular platform fir IPL engagement. While Starsports.com is not leaving any stone unturned for attracting people to watch the matches online instead of TV, Sony Max the official broadcaster of Pepsi IPL, is also not far behind. Extraaa Innings T20, the flagship match analysis show for Pepsi IPL on Sony Max and Sony Six, has upped its ante with an innovative digital association with Twitter this year to drive viewership and engagement for the show. Even the official Twitter handle of Sony Max gives ball by ball update on the platform driving the user engagement manifold. The channel has also come up with a mobile app for the Pepsi IPL League 2014. The ‘Cricket Ka Bulaava’ app has been made by WATConsult and offers an auto reminder service that sends users a push notification, email, Facebook and Twitter pings. With this feature, users can get reminders of their favourite team’s matches and also ensure that they do not miss out on viewing all the action, live on television. The app also has an extensive ‘Downloads’ section, which allows the users to download Pepsi IPL schedules, ringtones, wallpapers and photos of all the action from Pepsi IPL.
There is also the official IPL Fantasy League that is seeing unrivalled growth. While last year, being its debut year, it saw 500 thousand users, this year they are aiming to reach one million users. Talking to exchange4media, Ramesh Srivats, creator of IPL Fantasy League shared that when they launched it last year, they were aiming to reach 100 thousand users but ended up with five times the number. “IPL Fantasy League clicks with the users since it gives the whole feel of owning the team. India is a cricket crazy country and that’s what drives the game,” he added.
“IPL 2014 is perhaps a turning point for sports consumption. For the first time, online consumption of sports is becoming about video, video, and video. And, our investment in creating a world class backbone for video delivery is showing up as a significant improvement in the experience for sports fans, especially on a mobile screen,” said Ajit Mohan, EVP and Head, New Media, STAR India.
Starsports.com stands put due to its content and presentation. It provides several features like video scorecards, commentary, polls, stories, infographics and much more. All this is not available on TV while the match is on. So even if people are watching the matches on TV they are turning to online streaming for all the additional features and information.