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Sports on OTT helps acquire users, build a brand on digital: Ved Prakash Yadav, KhataBook

Guest Column: Yadav, VP-Growth & Marketing at KhataBook, writes how growth of sports, other than cricket, especially on digital medium, offers marketing opportunities to brands

by Ved Prakash Yadav
Published - Sep 25, 2020 9:18 AM Updated- Sep 25, 2020 9:48 AM

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Cricket is called one of India’s several ‘religions’ (only sometimes in jest!), and rightly so. Over the last few years, however, the increasing popularity of several new sports – the likes of kabaddi and the Indian football leagues, for instance – has been encouraging.
A 2020 report by GroupM’s ESP Properties says that in 2019 alone, the overall growth in sports sponsorship rose by 17%, taking the industry to a size of over INR 9000 crore. The same report mentions that cricket was at the forefront of the advertising sector, mostly due to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC World cup media spends.

Sports for digital brands
Thanks to digital, there are so many opportunities for marketers today as compared to previous years. The innovation potential also means brands need to fire on all fronts, whether it’s creating immersive experiences for consumers, staying relevant with moment marketing or rightly leveraging contextual marketing opportunities. And as I see it, OTT has been paving the way for innovative opportunities in the current times. Couple that with the sheer scale of sports on OTT, and you have a behemoth of marketing opportunities.


The sports marketing space is especially interesting for digital-first brands. For brands like ours, OTT becomes the primary space to spend marketing money on, and more so on sports properties. For cricket, Disney+ Hotstar ensures that a brand’s message reaches the right audience through multiple targeting options across languages, regions and affluence, and all during a live game.


Disney+ Hotstar consolidates the overall reach and brings everyone online for a game of cricket, at the same time. This way, it makes more sense for brands to associate themselves with a cricketing extravaganza like the Dream11 IPL, for instance. Sports on OTT helps acquire users and build a brand on digital.
Some brands have already seen great success with sports marketing on OTT as a part of their marketing strategy. Swiggy, for instance, enabled viewers to directly order their favourite meals during the IPL through the Disney+ Hotstar app. Coca-Cola celebrated key moments with the user through a native high visibility experience, again during IPL 2019. Fans are sure to remember these innovations; they either brought them convenience or joy.

Nobody said it was easy
Great potential to stand out in the clutter doesn’t make the task at hand any easier. Honestly, I believe it becomes even more challenging; marketers’ creativity will play a huge role when it comes to riding on sports tournaments. It’s either that or the risk of your marketing efforts being lost in the crowd.
For Khatabook, we achieved great success, and we owe this to the creative context in which we featured MS Dhoni: as a shopkeeper. Consumers saw him in a different light altogether as opposed to the times they see him in a cricket jersey, almost across all advertising. Using a celebrity creatively is a massive differentiator and we saw this first-hand.

Another way to stay ahead of the game is by asking the questions well in advance: Is the sporting event overlapping with anything else that’s critical for your brand? What kind of tournament is it and does it have a sizeable chunk of viewers? For instance, live cricket will bring together several audience cohorts, thereby offering a broader reach over others.

Measurement: objectives and metrics
Defining the objective of sports marketing and laying out the metrics to measure success are two of the most difficult tasks for marketers trying to leverage sports.
For our key brand campaigns, the objectives are usually among the four below:

1) To reach the audience with the clear aim of upselling

2) To increase brand engagement with existing users

3) To create an additional touchpoint for people who are already aware of Khatabook but
haven’t necessarily been acquired as users

4) To build awareness in people who are absolutely unaware of Khatabook
It’s much easier to understand the measurement metrics to employ once the objectives are clear.

In parting
Being an app built for Bharat, we’re always exploring new channels to reach our core target audience. In the past, Disney+ Hotstar was able to target our B2B audience on live cricket where they are most engaged. The campaign helped us achieve our primary goals of driving awareness and installs among our core audience.
I can only imagine that with the Dream11 IPL, cricket will prove to be an even more fruitful marketing investment for us.

Ved Prakash Yadav is VP-Growth & Marketing at KhataBook

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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Tags Marketing Sports Ott Khatabook Ved Prakash Yadav