How Star's inventory sell-out for IPL 14 boded well for the broadcaster

Experts say that the upcoming season of the league may hold more promise as the number of matches and opportunities will increase with the addition of two new teams

e4m by Sonam Saini & Kanchan Srivastava
Updated: Oct 18, 2021 9:14 AM

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 concluded on October 15, with Chennai Super Kings winning the IPL 14 trophy. While the viewership data for the second phase of the tournament is not out yet, its ad volume numbers indicate that this year too IPL has done reasonably well for the broadcaster. 

As per the TAM Sports-IPL 14 Advertising Report based on IPL 13 and IPL 14, the advertising volumes on TV in the 51 matches of IPL 14 grew by 6% compared to IPL 13. (Ad Volumes are for advertising across 24 Disney-Star Network channels for IPL 14 and 21 for IPL 13). However, the tally of advertisers grew by 10%, but the count of brands decreased by 2% in IPL 14 compared to IPL 13. 

Vishal Shah, Managing Partner, Mediacom expressed his optimism: "Ad rates on IPL saw an increase. The overall investment would have gone up, and it will continue to increase even more next year since two more teams will be added, which will increase the number of matches and all the other opportunities as well."

Shah added that 6% growth is decent compared to the previous year's IPL, which happened around Diwali and after the first lockdown. Shah said, "If there is a volume growth, that means the value growth will be even higher."  

Resonating Shah's opinion, Niti Kumar, COO, Starcom India said that IPL has a high volume base to begin with. "Last year, we saw advertisers use the platform to come back, so to say, from the COVID break that everyone had to take. Considering the tournament's break due to the second wave in April, the figures are in line with expectations," said Kumar. 

According to the reports, IPL 13 and 14 witnessed similar categories coming on board. In contrast, the 2021 tournament saw over 120 advertisers as compared with 110 last year. However, this year, IPL saw over 225 brands which are slightly low as compared to IPL 13. 

The report also stated that ecom-education was on the top category in IPL 14, while in IPL 13, Cellular Phones-Smart Phones led the list. During 51 matches of IPL 14, the top five categories collectively contributed more than 36% of overall ad volumes.

R. Venkatasubramanian, President & National Head - Investments, Havas Media Group India, attributes it to VIVO's commitment to IPL for title sponsorship from 2018 to 2022 and Oppo's commitment to ICC tournament till 2023. Hence, other players in the segment are not spending huge monies on TV sponsorships.

He added, “Ad volumes will not see a drastic increase because the number of spots, features and other elements has been agreed upon at the time of bidding keeping  viewers in mind.”

Additionally, the top five advertisers contributed a 20% share of ad volumes during 51 matches of IPL 14. Sporta Technologies and FX Mart were among the top five common advertisers between IPL 14 and IPL 13.

"Well, the fact that IPL advertisers are the top spending and most aggressive categories of the time is exactly on trend! Historically it's always been the highly competitive, deep-pocket spenders who have been most visible on the IPL format. This year, with the wave of digitization and the funding flush that so many Ed-tech and ecom brands have got, IPL becomes a natural platform for them to invest in and gain new users or build brand equity," said Kumar. 

Kumar further added, "Handset brands are still spending, and some of them have also used IPL. It's just that their volumes are lower vis a vis some of the tech brands who have taken sponsorships like Byju's. There are traditional advertisers like Thums Up and Mondelez who are on as well." 

Meanwhile, the top five brands contributed an 18% share of ad volumes during 51 matches of IPL 14. and Phonepe, among the top five brands, were common between IPL 14 and IPL 13. Dream 11 had the highest share- 6% of the total advertising volume, 1% up compared to previous IPL, whereas PhonePe share declined by one percent. R. Venkatasubramanian believes that many states banning fantasy gaming is behind the Gaming category's decline.

"IPL 2021 (both phases) has done well in terms of revenue and the channel has also secured a good number of sponsors," he noted.

Additionally, over 30 new categories appeared in 51 matches of IPL 14 compared to IPL 13. Among the new categories, Securities/Sharebroking Organization topped the list, followed by Fans.

According to the official broadcaster, the Star India network is on track to breach the 400 million viewer mark on TV for the fourth year in a row.  The official statement on the viewership of 35 matches read: "The marquee tournament has so far garnered 380 million viewers ( until match 35), 12 million higher than IPL 2020 at the same stage. The TV viewer aggregation is in fact, higher than the last three editions of the tournament since 2018." 

While the industry watchers await the viewership data to analyse whether it crossed last year's numbers or not, they are optimistic that IPL 14 has performed strongly this year in terms of revenue. 

Dinesh Singh Rathore, CEO, Madison Omega, said, "In terms of revenue, IPL is a sellout for the broadcaster. The broadcaster's inventory was sold out at higher rates for IPL 14, indicating that it did exceptionally well."

Further speaking about the finale, Kumar added, "The finale has always delivered. And this time, too, it will be the same - two past champions and strong teams playing against each other do have the makings for good viewership and ROI for the brands who have chosen to ride on it."

The broadcaster had 16 sponsors in the second phase of IPL 2021 including Dream 11, PhonePe, Jio Fiber, Byju's, Ajio (co-presenting sponsors), Bingo, Kamla Pasand, AMFI, Asian Paints, Cadbury Dairy Milk,,  Thums Up, Upstox, Garnier Men,, and Cred. 

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