Players bullish on mobile as the new screen for sports events

In spite of monetisation issues, mobile players are investing in live streaming of sports, given the potential for marketers & increasing preference for mobile as first screen by TG

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Aug 19, 2013 8:16 AM
Players bullish on mobile as the new screen for sports events

While a computer is the preferred destination for all sports lovers to check out the minute-to-minute updates of a game (when not in front of the television), the emergence of mobile as the popular pit stop should not come as a surprise. While the device has managed to become a platform of first choice for a huge chunk of audience, it still holds complexities for marketers who wish to tap the full potential of this platform.

The increasing penetration of smartphones and data connection was bound to create a way for new innovative content on the platform, and live streaming of sports events manages to create that content. However, while the trend holds a huge opportunity, investing in it can be tricky as it involves a lot of tough spots.

Mobile platform complexity  
Monetisation of mobile properties being a riddle, breaking even the huge investment made in acquiring the rights for the live streaming of a sports event can challenging. “It is a humongous amount of investment and recovering the invested money is a huge task. We took rights to establish the property and format. If you are taking rights for marketing purpose, then its good, but it will take time to make the deal profitable,” said Shabir Momin, CTO and MD, Zenga TV.

While marketers are now penetrating the medium, AdEx is still not enough to help mobile platforms get return on the investment. “There are two aspects to it,” said Sharad Kapoor, National Sales Head, Vdopia. “One is the VAS operator perspective and other is the application (on which the live streaming is telecasted) perspective. With the penetration of smartphones, VAS operators are going down, increasing the burden on the ads in applications,” he added.

However, monetisation barriers have not discouraged mobile players who are keen on strengthening the medium as a first preference device for sports. GD Singh, Director, DigiVive pointed out that content is king and thus, in a sports-loving country such as India, the trend shall pick up fast.

“There is already 30 to 40 per cent increase in traffic since last year,” added Singh. According to statistics by DigiVive, average daily downloads on the days of India-Sri Lanka cricket match and ICC T20 World Cup was 32,000 and 40,000 respectively. Whereas average downloads on non-cricket days was 30,000.
Live streaming of sports events on mobile is still in the nascent stage. Thus, mobile players investing in the phenomenon need to make sure that it is marketed well and multi screened.
“Players need to advertise the content well and make sure they give it the right proposition,” expressed Nitesh Kripalani, Executive Vice-President – New Media, Business Development and Digital/Syndication, Sony Entertainment Network. 

The marketer perspective
While leading brands such as Google, CEAT and Cadbury have been investing, the space has a lot more potential which marketers can exploit for targeted and small budget campaigns. By choosing the right event to invest in, combined with extensive brand integration, marketers can hit a gold mine.

According to data provided by DigiVive, maximum unique daily visitors arrived at the streaming of ICICI T20 World Cup (1,40,000) and the least number during the Celkon Tri-Series (70, 000). Also, mobile enables marketers to get precise data of the unique visitors, thus making target ability easy.

In lieu of recent troubles in the broadcasting industry, marketers and mobile players have realised the potential of digital and mobile as an alternate screen in the coming years.

In spite of the criticality of monetisation and advertising, live streaming of sports events on mobile is slated to grow and holds great opportunity for marketers for both, larger and targeted local campaigns.

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