Digital media is steadily growing in India. YouTube bagging the rights for online live streaming of all the IPL3 (Indian Premier League) matches has only added to the confidence of the digital players.
YouTube has roped in more than six sponsors with Bharti Airtel as the official broadband sponsor of the cricket title on YouTube for IPL Season 3. HSBC India, Royal Challengers, Hewlett Packard India, Coca Cola and Samsung are among the other key sponsors for IPL on YouTube.
Besides online, July Systems mobile Internet solutions had launched IPL on mobile Internet, wherein consumers would have the access to IPL videos and latest updates via its mobile Internet service. These initiatives are seen as steps in the right direction that would attract new users and advertisers to explore the digital medium - both online and mobile, which is said to be more transparent and is capable of delivering better ROIs as compared to any other medium.
Narasimha Jayakumar, Business Head, Google India, said, УWe have signed on six plus advertisers. These sponsors are signed in multiple of crores of rupees. We have got leading brands and are expecting to touch over 40 million people across India alone. Internet is now the mainstream media and has come of age, significant audience are available today and we think it would be a hit with consumers.Ф
Like television, radio, online and mobile, the gaming industry too is riding the IPL wave. Rise in digital forms of gaming is believed to be mainly due to the rise in digital media in the country. While cricket has always been popular among gamers, IPL is adding to this popularity and the launch of 3G in India will take gaming to the next level.
Industry players give their take on what IPL as a property means for digital media.
IPL as a property for digital
According to Anurag Gupta, Managing Director, DGM India, УFor the digital medium to garner larger share of wallet, we need more compelling content and services, which is sure to get more users online. Take a look at what email had done and now what social media is doing. IPL is growing bigger every year and it is great that YouTube and July Systems are enabling mobile and Internet users to watch the matches live. This will surely help both the users to come online as well as advertisers to put in monies where they can actually measure the ad views and user engagements transparently.Ф
Sandeep Singh, Business Head, Quasar, remarked, УI think with the numbers coming in of unique users already accessing the video content on YouTube, there is no doubt itТs a great property for digital media.
ItТs a mega cricketing and entertainment event, and with the economy back in positive, the advertisersТ confidence is up again, so the timing has been right and itТs proved to be good boost to digital media.Ф
Raj Menon, COO, Contests2win.com, explained, УThis year, IPL is going to be huge in the digital space because of two reasons: IPL has signed up with YouTube for a five minute delayed broadcast of all matches.
This means that consumers in offices can view the action from the comforts of their desktops while pretending to work. Views in offices will be following live commentary on sites like Cricinfo and when an event like Yuvraj's sixes will be watched by millions on YouTube without having to go home and watch the news. Secondly, consumers can get the access to IPL cricket matches videos now, thanks to July Systems, which is providing the latest updates via its mobile Internet service.Ф
Arun Mehra, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment, added here, УIPL is tapping the digital space in a big way this season. The current addition to it is live IPL matches on Youtube.com. People can enjoy the matches live anywhere anytime. IPL has evolved into an era of screen-agers, where the screen has moved on from a television to laptops and even mobile phones. This is a great way to reach out to most people at their convenience.Ф
Vishal Gondal, CEO, Indiagames, stressed, УCricket works well when it comes to digital, and the fans love it. Mobile games are selling in huge numbers, in fact, cricket and IPL being the big constituents has made huge different for us. IPL has made Internet mass from niche medium, while playing games was considered nerdy, it is because of IPL that everyone today from all age groups wants to be associated with it. The launch of 3G in India will make significant impact on gaming and with IPL on board, it will take gaming to the next level.Ф
Singh of Quasar pointed out, УDigital media in India lacks good content. I have always been a firm believer that good content can drive usage Ц so from that perspective it brings good content Ц if the content on digital can be made more exclusive (YouTube is trying to do it with exclusive moments, etc.) and delivered through a good platform, it will drive usage and with a high usage advertisers and revenue will come for sure.Ф
Menon of Contest2win.com said, УIn the case of the official broadcasting partner, the minutes it can offer for advertising are finite - brands who have lost out on the mad frenzy bidding for the limited airtime can leverage the online space. The experience online is also more flexible - brands can customise the experience for consumers using microsites, advergames, adver-virals and facebook apps, as compared to rigid formats on mass media.Ф
According to Mehra of Zapak Digital Entertainment, УCricket is very topical to the day and to the hour of the game-play. It needs to be strategized and planned tactfully to garner maximum benefits. Each and every brand wants to get associated with cricket during the IPL season. However, the bigger potential for IPL in the digital space is the India Diaspora. The usage of the Youtube.com screen is the maximum during the afternoon time, especially from NRIs. We ourselves witness a sharp rise in our page views on zapakcricket.com for the IPL scorecards. We see a good amount of NRI audiences on our portal. These NRIs are considered premium inventory, which needs to be tapped further. Banking and financial sector branding are a perfect fit for this crowd.Ф
Some of the advantages that IPL can offer to the gaming industry in particular, according to industry players, are that the consumers can interact Ц they can literally touch, feel and play with their icons on this space, making it a far richer experience. They can play, compete and challenge their friends.
УThere is immense potential in the gaming sector with IPL. The IP of each of the franchisees of IPL can only be taken forward with gaming.
It acts as an interactive and engaging tool for the franchisee fans to be a part of the team 24/7 for 365 days. It is an untapped sector and IPL should explore it to its full potential,Ф concluded ZapakТs Mehra.