It’s a brand new experience for all the cricket lovers, especially the students, as it helps cricket lovers in my village where there are power cuts and cable channels don’t reach. It helps them really very much. Many thanks to you Sir, Mr Lalit Modi, for giving us this kind of facility – User Feedback from m.iplt20.com
There is no doubt that the Indian Premier League 3 (IPL3) is a success – the ratings are high, audience reach has sky rocketed, ticket sales are healthy and clearly the Indian cricket fan is lapping up every match. From an advertising perspective, the numbers are equally impressive with SET MAX having achieved a 10 second spot rate that was unimaginable until a few weeks ago. However, the real story this year lies beyond the realm of traditional media, namely the Internet and the mobile Internet.
Recent reports state that the Internet population in India is touching 70 million (source: IAMAI) and mobile subscribers in India are just shy of 500 million. That it is the preferred choice of communication is old news, the real news is the emergence of a new consumption and communication model that hitherto was restricted to voice and text. Welcome to the world of the mobile Internet.
While India has over 127 million Internet-enabled handsets (GPRS connections), approximately a fifth of those actually use their phones to access mobile Internet. But what of the rest of the users in India – what stops them from being active? Is it the lack of relevant content? Is it price sensitivity? The reality is that it is a combination of both.
For the average Indian, Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, GMail have no relevance – they want content they are familiar with – content that is relevant to them, be it news, sports or entertainment. Price is the other major factor and that is slowly but surely being addressed by telecom operators. The price wars unleashed by Tata Docomo have resulted in voice revenues dropping or remaining stagnant for most operators, and so they are looking at new revenue streams – data is their Holy Grail. Testimony to this is the current wave of advertising encouraging mobile Internet data usage for Rs 5 per day… expect this to fall further. Aircel’s My Pocket Internet is a classic case study of an operator who made a conscious attempt to woo the younger, more sophisticated mobile Internet audience. And it has worked. The IPL mobile Internet traffic has seen a disproportionately high usage from Aircel subscribers, given their market share in the overall telecom pie.
The IPL has been a catalyst of sorts in so much as users who did not believe their handset was capable of accessing the Internet are consuming vast quantities of data on a daily basis. Close to 14,000 hours of video have been consumed on the IPL service (m.iplt20.com) thus far, and it is growing on a daily basis. By being available on this medium, the IPL has truly become the game of the masses – where users can access the match they want anytime on their mobile phone.
This brings in new numbers of people who don’t have access to the IPL – be it urban users who are busy at work, etc., or users in smaller towns and cities where infrastructure like regular power supply, access to satellite television are all challenges they face. The IPL ensures that as a brand it truly reaches out to the masses and thus, brings in a newer and larger audience base. Its domestic fan base increases, which in turn, benefits its franchisees, advertisers, partners, etc.
Mobile Internet also benefits from the IPL, as a new base of first time users realise the potential of their mobile device, the kind of content they can access and the benefit of having it at a click of a button anytime, anywhere. Major media houses like the Wall Street Journal, Mint, NDTV, Network18, Times Group are but a handful who have moved early into the space. The medium and the device are inherently suited for vernacular media to deliver their content to existing as well as potential consumers.
Media houses aside, it is a major opportunity for advertisers who having understood the advantages of mobile (reach, measurability, geographical targeting and total flexibility – in effect an individual cast, not just a narrow cast) were hampered by the limited creative messaging that text allowed for. With mobile Internet, and its rich media solutions (including video) that is set to change dramatically.
This is the ecosystem that is being built out – from telecom operators looking at data revenue, to media brands wanting new consumption avenues, to advertisers who want creative messaging delivered as efficiently as possible, to handset manufacturers who are making experiences richer and encouraging handset upgrades. Finally, the ultimate winner is the consumer who can access what they want, when they want. Everybody wins, that is the nature of an ecosystem.
(Prem Bhatia, President, July Systems and Chairman, Sports Media Ltd.)