India is a cricket crazy nation. This is not new. A cricket series involving India does generate a lot of hype and TV too benefits when it broadcasts the matches. But IPL has not only changed the rules of cricket broadcasting, it has changed the overall scenario of cricket viewership and addressability. IPL has been viewed online as much as on the regular TV platform.
There are certain things which IPL has always done right since its inception. Here is what broadcaster’s content creators can learn from the cricket extravaganza and ensure that the content is a hit every time.
Don’t change the rules, change the game
Cricket was a one-day match with 50 overs for the common man, or a test match which was confined to gentlemen. IPL took the 20-over format and used it as a trump card to capitalise the format, even more than the 20-over world cup tournament.
“What IPL did different was it made cricket a household genre. People now, apart from sports, take cricket as a form of entertainment. It serves cricket with all the right ingredients: format, glamour, cheerleaders, etc. Apart from this, a very vibrant add-on was the regional pride. Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, etc., people started talking about their own teams. The city owners felt pride in owning their own team. The heady cocktail thus worked in the favour of the tournament,” said Pratap Bose, COO, Mudra Max.
Agrees Bala Krishna, COO, Allied Media. “IPL has made cricket a family viewing experience,” he said. “Earlier it was just meant for men in the family, now women enjoy it as well. IPL has ultimately become an evening movie for everybody out there,” he added.
IPL has, therefore, become a vibrant platform which has blended the entertainment factor with the soul of the nation.
Marketing does not matter, positioning does
“IPL has envisaged trust and entertainment simultaneously. The quality of the format which is short and simple has got pure sport and pure entertainment. The combination is lethal,” said Vikram Sakhuja, Worldwide CEO, Maxus.
The ratings are ensured not because of only the TV sets, IPL is played in shopping malls, pubs, bars with large projectors. The entire gamut of audiences who watch them are not measured accurately, but marketers are sure about their presence. The positioning of the content which has been on multiple platforms has ensured that the content is served right and garners lot more ratings than the ordinary GECs. Nobody plays GECs programmes on multi-screens! One may call it an advantage of sports but the serving has been accurate and rightly positioned. The timing of the match at 4PM till late night 11PM ensures that people enjoy the matches post the work hours. IPL has made the right sales pitch without making it obvious. “IPL ensures a lot of traction. That is the best advantage it has,” said Krishna of Allied Media.
Viewing on YouTube, iplt20.com, and Google Plus has also added more screens for people to watch the game.
Anuradha Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, Brand Communications and Insights, Vodafone India said, “Keeping faith in the business interest and potential of this property, we were the first ones to renew our association with IPL for next five years. IPL remains one of the biggest sporting platforms in the country designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers on a pan India basis. It has been a fruitful association so far, wherein IPL has delivered very well in terms of efficiency of reach and effectiveness of on-ground engagement with our customers. Our experience so far has been that if you do things that are truly innovative and cutting-edge during the IPL, then the impact multiplier and bang for the buck is unmatchable. No other cricketing platform packages sport, talent, chutzpah and entertainment together on one platform, as successfully as IPL.”
“IPL has got a very good positioning pattern. Our products get noticed fast and the reach is wider. Since the broadcast is on multiple screens, it has to be accepted more widely and in the larger sphere. We get what we need from the IPL by advertising on it. Therefore, we don’t mind spending,” said Shireesh Joshi, COO, Strategic Marketing Group, Godrej Consumer Products, which is a big IPL advertiser this season.
Bose added, “The decent press coverage of IPL also ensures that the tournament gains eyeballs even beyond the live broadcast.”
Don’t ignore, but engage the non-target group
The most distinctive advantage of IPL is that it has engaged women like never before. This is a big learning for GECs, who always have ignored or have given less attention to their core non-TG: men. Some either try to make niche male offerings or some stick to the old models of the family drama which is not watched vigorously by men. But in case of IPL, women enjoy matches not only in the stadium but even at home.
What was a problem earlier was the long timing of the match in a 50-over or a test format. Also, IPL has made cricket very simple, short and entertaining. Coupled with cheerleaders, extras shots, charming commentary, innovative techniques such as talking to the players while fielding, making slow motion bumpers, etc, have been widely accepted as entertainment quotient and eventually has made women ask “score kya hua?”
The regional factor has worked very well with IPL. Women identify themselves with their city teams. Along with this, the Bollywood connection has also added more glamour to the tournament.
At the end, innovative and renovate
IPL has been a case study for marketers and broadcasters. It has innovated from Season 1. From making cricket look like an entertainment package, it has renewed the way cricket and entertainment can be blended in India. Showcasing cricket special moments in slow motion, music tunes off the field, and even marketing cheerleaders with owners, after IPL party, etc., it has rightly identified India’s pulse. In short, it has given the masses what they desired.
Nobody is certain about the future but as of now, IPL has ensured that it garners and gives maximum RoI to its advertisers, broadcasters and the audience.