How Hotstar is upping its ad-revenue game this Cricket World Cup

As the official digital streaming partner of the World Cup, Hotstar's immense reach and scale have made it a top choice for advertisers across the country

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Jul 11, 2019 9:01 AM

As team India reached the semi-finals this Cricket World Cup, television ad rates skyrocketed. Not only TV, digital media also entered the race. Hotstar, the official digital streaming partner of the World Cup, is in high demand among advertisers. The platform’s immense reach and scale makes it a top choice for advertisers across the country.

Gopa Kumar, COO, Isobar, says, “Many advertisers who were playing wait and watch have now jumped onto the bandwagon. Since the user base has gone up and number of people who are logging into the platform is also on the higher side, the rates are lower than any of the last big events, lower rates have provided an opportunity for both, big and small advertisers, to get associated with the event, it also has managed to expand the base with newer set of advertisers”

According to media reports, Hotstar wants to clock over 200 crores in revenues. “Well, I do not know about 200 crores as a number, but my estimate is that it will be somewhere closer to this. This in itself is a great achievement and shows that live streaming digital sports events, in particular cricket, has a good following and can command a premium”, he adds.

According to Anita Nayyar, CEO India & South East Asia at Havas Media Group, “Every important tournament where team India makes it to the semi-finals or finals, channels increase their ad inventory and this time it is no different.”

“Advertisers loosen their purse strings generously as these matches, even though at premium ad rates, come with an almost guaranteed viewership, thereby making the proposition lucrative”, she adds.

Brands like BYJU’s, and PhonePe, are new entrants to the advertisers’ list this World Cup.

As the television medium is a costly affair, digital has given a great opportunity for brands to encash. For the first time, Hotstar has lowered its ad rates, starting from as low as Rs 5 lakh, which makes it easier for regional and smaller brands to advertise.

The streaming platform has announced Dream 11, Uber Eats, Amazon Pay and Coca Cola as the co-presenting sponsors this year, while the associate sponsors include Royal Challenge, Acko, CEAT, and ICICI Lombard.

On the benefits of advertising on digital as compared to TV, even if the sporting event is the same, Kumar says, “The benefit of advertising on digital remains that you can measure the engagement and response to brand communication. One is also able to get a wider sense of audience who are on the move, which is difficult for TV as a medium.”

“This year, Hotstar is allowing to run ads on vernacular feeds, offering a lot of flexibility to advertisers, which would not be available to brands advertising on TV. Innovation possibility on digital is also high, thereby offering a great opportunity to advertisers. With digital reach now becoming bigger and bigger and comparable to television, it makes sense to be present on the digital platforms for these high profile mega events”, he adds.

Jyoti Kumar Bansal, MD, PHD, believes, "As the Indian cricket team progresses in a tournament and specially the World Cup, interest obviously goes up and brands which may have been waiting and watching also want a piece of the action and excitement to ride on.”

“Marketers with relatively tighter budgets have looked at the digital option and with increase in viewership on Hotstar, their ability to offer impression inventory increases. This definitely has created opportunities for more brands to use this event to reach their consumers,” she adds.

 “Hotstar has positioned itself as an OTT platform specialized in sports, specifically for the audience that seeks convenient viewing on the go. The viewership at large has also changed leading to a lot of advertisers making a transition from TV to digital. Hotstar has set out for an ambitious task of Rs 200 cr revenue, but if it wants to grow its revenue, it should think itself not as a short-term gainer, but gaining and building trust for the brands which should stick with them for a longer term,” Pranabir Singh, Director, Media Planning, DCMN India, adds.


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