Want to take IPL beyond the barriers of affordability, access & language: Anil Jayaraj

In an interview with exchange4media, Anil Jayaraj, CEO of Viacom18 Sports, stated they will ensure the IPL telecast gives advertisers an unprecedented reach, bigger than on TV

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman & Sonam Saini
Published: Feb 2, 2023 2:12 PM  | 4 min read
Anil Jayaraj

The split in the IPL media rights created quite a stir in the media industry, and now Viacom18 Sports announcing that free live streaming for the upcoming 16th edition on the Jio app for free has added to the excitement.

In an interaction with e4m, Anil Jayaraj, CEO of Viacom18 Sports, stated that the goal was to present IPL in a way never done before. "We want to eliminate all barriers in terms of consumption - availability, affordability, and language."

Access & Affordability  

Jayaraj shared that Viacom18 Sports would be providing 24x7 access to fans with the option to watch their favourite moments in their preferred language.

Tackling the affordability factor, Viacom18 Sports has now made IPL streaming free for all.

Furthermore, the telecast will be in 16 to 18 unique feeds, thus removing the third barrier - language. “We believe that consumption can go up dramatically if we can crack these three values. Of course, we'll add a few other features like multi-cam,” said Jayaraj.

Advertiser Advantages on Digital 

The response from advertisers has been excellent, Jayaraj said with the CPMs being quite exciting. “We are going to give them an unprecedented reach. This will be bigger than IPL on TV. It will not be bigger by a small amount, but by a massive one and that's why advertisers are quite excited," he added.

Talking about other benefits of digital, Jayaraj said the medium enables advertisers to reach out to specific audiences in a cost-effective and measurable manner. "We also offer connected TVs. This is why advertisers can come to our platform to get consumers both on mobile and TV with comprehensive packages in one place."

Seamless IPL Experience  

Jio’s broadcast of the FIFA World Cup surpassed television viewership but the platform encountered some technical difficulties during the first few games.

FIFA, according to Jayaraj, was a huge learning experience. "We used some benchmarks based on how popular football could be. It was an unbelievable surge but we actually delivered a 12 million concurrency on the FIFA final. It's absolutely true that we could have delivered a better experience in the first couple of days. But by the time FIFA ended, we had already solved the issues.”

He went on to say that since then, Viacom18 has invested enormously in terms of capacity and technology. The aim is to deliver an event, which will not only be massive in terms of scale but also be the most-viewed event anywhere in the world, Jayaraj added.

“We have ensured that we can take care of virtually any capacity because India has got 700 million internet users. We now have enough seeding capacity. In addition to enhancing capacity, we have built other links, which ensure that there is no breakage anywhere in the system. We have built the largest tech team possible and also partnered with people who really know how to solve some of these issues.”

Plans for Women’s Premier League  

Jayaraj further shared that they were still in the process of finalising for the WPL but said that their focus was very much on digital. “I don't really believe that advertisers will buy television, they only buy digital. There is just not enough advertiser demand for television.”

Viacom18 recently acquired global television and digital rights for Rs 951 crore to broadcast the Women’s Premier League (WPL) from season 2023 to 2027.

When asked if TV and digital were being sold together, Jayaraj disclosed, "We are seeing a lot of demand on digital but not as much on TV, owing to the shift in the increased consumption and engagement on digital. In line with that, we are prioritizing digital over TV."

He further added, “Our intent is to build a consumer base, which is diverse, where we can get people to come in and view the products that they would like. That's the reason we have gone for a variety of sports. We have been quite deliberate in choosing to buy rights that we believe we can monetize. But the idea is very much about building a large portfolio of sports on the back of which we can build a large consumer bass.”

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Viacom18 to curate fan-centric content for Mumbai Indians

The network will build an added layer of story-telling for the fans of MI

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 5:05 PM   |   3 min read

jio cinema

Viacom18, today announced its partnership with five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, as the Official Partner ahead of TATA IPL 2023. As part of this partnership, Mumbai Indians will make available to JioCinema,  all of Mumbai Indians digital content that fans have loved over the years, including behind-the-scenes, marquee content with star players, and much more.

Viacom18, through the partnership, will build an added layer of story-telling for the passionate fans of MI – the ‘Paltan’, which fans of cricket and sports will also truly enjoy. There will be digital-exclusive and original content that fans can watch on JioCinema. Simultaneously, the partnership comes on the back of Viacom18’s commitment to conjure up top-notch content offerings as part of its TATA IPL coverage.

Mumbai Indians currently has over 50 Million fans across the world, who are engaging and being entertained across platforms, and as the most followed TATA IPL team on Instagram, MI Paltan and cricket fans have come to enjoy the content experience.

“MI Paltan is one of the most active and passionate fan bases in the world. This partnership will give them more reasons to engage with us,” a Mumbai Indians spokesperson said. “Working with JioCinema will give fans a comprehensive and immersive content experience. Our intent behind this association is to continue elevating our offerings to our fans.”

“We are thrilled to join forces with one of the world’s most successful T20 teams ever. Not just for their on-field exploits but Mumbai Indians are also very popular in terms of fan love, and that warrants nothing less than an unparalleled coverage of their journey as they go along,” said Viacom18 Sports Head of Strategy and Partnerships Hursh Shrivastava. “The partnership will allow fans to be a fly on the wall through our lens and will help them interact with the franchise more intimately through JioCinema.”

At the start of 2023, Viacom18 unveiled a slew of original content featuring TATA IPL icons Suresh Raina, Chris Gayle, Anil Kumble, Robin Uthappa, RP Singh, Parthiv Patel, Pragyan Ojha, and Aakash Chopra. The shows are an eclectic mix of free-wheeling discussions, interviews and features that give fans the most insightful, never-seen-before, and in-depth story-telling available on JioCinema.

The 2023 season of TATA IPL commences on 31st March, with defending champions Gujarat Titans taking on Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. All matches will be live on JioCinema for no cost this season. JioCinema is available to Airtel, Vi, Jio and BSNL subscribers.

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Jio to launch 20 ad films during IPL

The campaigns will highlight the benefits of 5G

By Tanzila Shaikh | Mar 21, 2023 4:14 PM   |   1 min read


Jio will be launching 20 ad films during the Indian Premier League (IPL), saources have told e4m. Over the three-month duration of the league, the telecommunication company owned by Reliance Industries, will roll out ad films on TV as well as its app.

The ads, say sources, will highlight the benefits of 5G and its various features. 

The campaigns will be created by Jio Creative Labs.

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Star Sports announces a commentary panel of cricket legends for IPL 2023

The panel comprises world cup winning players, coaches and other experts

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 12:19 PM   |   4 min read

IPL 2023

Star Sports, the official television broadcaster of the TATA IPL 2023, announced a star-studded panel of commentators that features some of the most decorated players to have graced the 22 yards. Fans across India can look forward to some of the most respected, adored and knowledgeable experts from around the world presenting the event, LIVE & Exclusive on the Star Sports Network.

 Cricket aficionados can tune in to watch two T20 World Cup winning captains Paul Collingwood and Aaron Finch, the latter having played for nine IPL franchises, providing a captain’s perspective. Joining them will be former England and IPL legend Kevin Pietersen, whose extensive knowledge of the sport and colourful personality has made him a fan favourite over the years. Another fan favourite – Danny Morrison – will be seen in his elements on Star Sports’ coverage of TATA IPL 2023. One of the greatest all-rounders ever and a former IPL coach Jacques Kallis makes his debut on Star Sports’ panel. Former Australia batters David Hussey, who was also KKR mentor and Matthew Hayden, CSK legend, will join Kallis and Pietersen. Former Purple Cap winner Imran Tahir will lend his perspective on spin-bowling, expected to play a crucial role at certain venues as IPL travels to 12 venues for the first time ever.

Former IPL coaches Tom Moody, Daniel Vettori and Simon Katich will provide an insider’s view on the game, analysing tactics and plays.

  The Star Sports panel will also boast of legendary Indian openers with contrasting batting and commentary styles  - Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. Adding to the diversity and stature to the broadcast ranks will be Mithali Raj, one of the greatest women cricketers of all time. Four-time IPL and two-time World Champion Harbhajan Singh will be joined by winner of the first-ever IPL title Mohammad Kaif. 

The strong line-up also includes former India all-rounder and winner of ICC T20 World Cup 2007 - Irfan Pathan. Making his debut on Star Sports’ panel will be Irfan’s brother, two-time World champion and one of the most impactful IPL players ever – Yusuf Pathan. Former India opener and three-time IPL champion Murali Vijay makes a foray into sports broadcasting for the first time ever and will be joined by Laxmipathy Balaji, who also has three IPL titles to his name, two as player and one as member of the CSK coaching staff. The strong title winners’ list also includes Subramaniam Badrinath, who won two titles with CSK. S Sreesanth also joins the elite ranks of Star Sports’ experts and will infuse his infectious energy to the most watched Cricket show in India – Cricket Live. 

Along with Sunil Gavaskar, 1983 World Cup winners Sandeep Patil and Kris Srikkanth also join Star Sports’ panel, adding a unique generational perspective to the broadcast. 

The Telugu feed brings an unmatched viewing experience with a line-up of commentators which includes former IPL champions - Venugopal Rao and T Suman, who tasted success in 2009 with Deccan Chargers and Ashish Reddy, who won the title in 2016 with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Former Chief Selector of the Indian Cricket team – MSK Prasad – joins them to elevate the Telugu broadcast. Kalyan Krishna joins the ranks of elite former Cricketers to capture and celebrate the action and excitement of India’s biggest Cricketing festival. 

The Kannada commentary panel features former Indian cricketer Vijay Bharadwaj, Srinivasa Murthy (Jaani), former Karnataka coach GK Anil Kumar, former RCB trio Balachandra Akhil, Bharat Chipli and Pavan Deshpande along with Karnataka legend Gundappa Vishwanath. Current Big Boss (Kannada) winner Roopesh Shetty too joins the Kannada feed as he makes his debut into sports broadcasting. 

Former Indian cricketer Amol Muzumdar leads the broadcast in Marathi while former India cricketer Nayan Mongia will lead the ranks of Gujarati experts. The Malayalam and Bengali feeds will be led by two former Indian pacers in Tinu Yohanan and Ashoke Dinda respectively. 

With a mix of IPL Champions, World Champions, Successful IPL Coaches, Experienced Broadcasters and Legends from generations who build narratives, tell stories, analyse tactics, and provide insights, Star Sports is all set to bring alive an Incredible experience for fans this TATA IPL 2023.


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Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandy and co. headline Star Sports' IPL promo

The campaign is aimed at showcasing the power of TV

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 20, 2023 11:47 AM   |   2 min read


Star Sports, the official television broadcaster of TATA IPL 2023, has been the home for Cricket fans across the country for more than a decade. As fans gear up for the 16th edition of Tata IPL 2023, Star Sports for the first time ever has brought together a galaxy of stars from the Cricket world, to bring these heroes closest to their fans.
The purpose of bringing together legends like Rohit Sharma, who was recently voted the most incredible captain in IPL history, and Virat Kohli, who received the award for the Most Incredible Season, along with the captain of the defending champion in IPL - Hardik Pandya, captains of Lucknow Super Giants and Kolkata Knight Riders – KL Rahul & Shreyas Iyer, and one of the greatest IPL all-rounders of all time – Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai Super Kings), was to give fans a unique opportunity to get to know their favourite heroes at a more personal level and witness a never-seen-before side to them as they share stories of successes, hardships, and joy from their journeys as well as their likes and dislikes.

Speaking about the exclusive association with the biggest IPL Heroes this season, a Star Sports Spokesperson said, “Fans love to cheer for their favourite heroes and are always intrigued by their personas off the field. As official TV broadcasters for the TATA IPL 2023, we want to bring fans closest to their heroes and help build an emotional connect which goes beyond on-field performances. We will continue to bring these stories alive during our coverage of IPL 2023, especially on India’s most watched Cricket show – Cricket Live.

"Star Sports has had a tradition of working closely with top Cricketers to deepen their connect with fans and amplify their personas, be it legends like Rohit and Virat, superstars like Hardik and Jadeja or emerging leaders like Shreyas and Rahul. We look for a brand fit in them with 'Believe' values of the Star Sports brand and work with them to inspire fans and galvanise fandom."

Rohit, Kohli, Hardik, Shreyas, Jadeja, and Rahul are also a part of Star Sports’ “Shor On, Game On” campaign which promotes community viewing, virtues of experiencing IPL together on a big screen, and the benefits of watching the tournament on Disney Star’s TV network.

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Rajasthan Royals announces Luminous Power Technologies as Title Sponsor for IPL 2023

The power and solar solutions brand’s logo will appear on the front of the Rajasthan Royals' official playing kit and training kit

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 20, 2023 11:11 AM   |   4 min read

Luminous Power Technologies

Royals Sports Group-owned franchise Rajasthan Royals today announced Luminous Power Technologies as the team's Title Sponsor for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is set to begin from 31st March 2023. As part of the association, the power and solar solutions brand’s logo will appear on the front of the Rajasthan Royals' official playing kit and training kit.

With the motto of providing customer delight through innovation & passion with a focus on execution & teamwork, Luminous Power Technologies has been a trustworthy No.1 Energy Solutions Super Brand that offers a wide range of innovative products and solutions in the energy, power back up and residential solar space. Luminous Power Technologies is pioneer in Inverter and battery technology including recent launches of Lithium Ion based inverter premium designed Ultra Charge Batteries, Icon Inverter Series and Powerhouse High-Capacity Inverter series for homes and offices. Meanwhile, the winners of the inaugural edition of the IPL, Rajasthan Royals, are known for their innovative and pioneering approach which is married with the extensive use of technology to achieve results on the field.

Having previously extended their support to the sport through in-stadium and linear TV partnerships, Luminous is re-entering the IPL space with this partnership with the Royals for the 2023 season.

Commenting on the association, Jake Lush McCrum, Chief Executive Officer, Rajasthan Royals, said, “Luminous is a brand driven by innovation and technology which is central to what drives success for our franchise. Countless synergies have emerged as we've deepened our discussion around this partnership with innovation and sustainability being a core focus of both brands. We are incredibly excited about the impact we can achieve together and look forward to helping Luminous strengthen their national and global footprint through various campaigns during the season and beyond."

Preeti Bajaj, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Luminous Power Technologies, quoted: “With over 35 years of expertise in creating innovative and technology driven products for our consumers, Luminous is one of the most reputed and reliable brands in India. This exciting partnership with Rajasthan Royals provides us with the opportunity to keep scaling and creating a tangible impact on our current and potential consumers. We have been associated with cricket in the past through other associations, and with this partnership with Rajasthan Royals, we aim to reaffirm our commitment to innovation and technology, and also promote exponential growth for the business leveraging the Royals' domestic and global presence."

Neelima Burra, Senior VP and Chief Strategy, Transformation and Marketing Officer added, “Luminous is a No.1 brand in energy solutions market. With the evolution of power quality, power consumption, and per capita income in India, power back-up needs have been marking a shift towards residential solar as well as higher KVA ranges and Luminous is on a mission to accelerate growth in coming years, shaping the Luminous of Future – Luminous 3.0. A range of strategic initiatives have been laid out across businesses and brands to drive this transformation journey and position Luminous as a global Prosumer-Tech player that is Transforming the world of sustainable energy and Powering happier homes. IPL and RR collaboration is very valuable as it will helps us strengthen our brand in India in every household in India”.
This association between a brand that has transformed into a household name that aims to power happier homes through technology innovations and empower lives with access to energy, and a cricket team whose mission is to 'transform society through cricket, and cricket through innovation', goes a long way in establishing a mutually beneficial partner ecosystem that can drive the ambitions of both the entities.  Through its philanthropic arm - the Royal Rajasthan Foundation - the franchise has been working to enable opportunities for empowered women in Rajasthan for equitable access to water, livelihoods and mental health interventions, while also providing access to solar energy. Luminous aims to transform the world of energy with its technology and innovation. The ongoing women’s day campaign #WomenInEnergy aims to reduce gender gap in energy sector and provide equal opportunity for women powering happier homes. Luminous commitment to enriching education for girls, creating livelihood, and a green environment to live in, there are numerous synergies for both the brands given the Royals' ambition of impacting society with cricket as the vehicle.

The Rajasthan Royals squad, which includes international and domestic stars from across the world who have been at the forefront of using technology and innovation in their game, will be kick-starting their 2023 campaign in Hyderabad on 2nd April 2023.

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Mumbai Indians adds new cricket franchise 'MI New York'

The team will participate in the inaugural edition of Major League Cricket (MLC)

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 20, 2023 10:01 AM   |   2 min read


Mumbai Indians, owned by Reliance Industries Limited, today announced the proposed addition of a fifth cricket franchise – MI New York, to the growing MI #OneFamily, to be based in New York.

The team will participate in the inaugural edition of Major League Cricket (MLC) subject to completion of customary due diligence; negotiation, and execution of definitive binding agreements, and receipt of required corporate, regulatory and third-party approvals and compliances.

Mrs. Nita M. Ambani said, “I am thrilled to welcome our New York franchise to the growing MI Family! With our entry into the first cricket league in the US, I hope we are able to establish Mumbai Indians as a global brand of fearless and entertaining cricket! This is another new beginning for MI and I look forward to the exciting journey ahead."

The MI #OneFamily, is committed to expanding and promoting cricket across the globe, continues to grow stronger every day. MI New York will be the fifth franchise after Mumbai Indians (IPL), MI Cape Town (SA20), MI Emirates (ILT20), and Mumbai Indians (WPL), in three different continents, four different countries, and five different leagues.

Mumbai Indians are one of the most followed global cricket brands with close to 50 Million digital fans spread across the world, supporting and cheering their #Onefamily of teams, who play 6 months of cricket through the year in marquee franchise leagues across the world. Since 2009, Mumbai Indians have grown in 99% brand value (Brand Finance) and have been the preferred partner for brands across the globe looking to build and tell their stories to the world. Major League Cricket will be the first professional Twenty20 cricket championship in the United States. The inaugural season of Major League Cricket will kick off in the summer of 2023

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Jio Cinema showcases IPL interactive features in new campaign

The TVC, conceptualized by Ogilvy, has cricketers MS Dhoni and Suryakumar Yadav in real-life roles

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 16, 2023 12:12 PM   |   3 min read


JioCinema kicked off its TATA IPL campaign with MS Dhoni and Suryakumar Yadav. Titled Digital India Ka Digital TATA IPL, the pan-India campaign also features actors Shweta Tripathi and Abhishek Banerjee and is aimed to trigger excitement about watching TATA IPL on digital for free with a slew of fan-friendly features.

The TVC, released in 11 languages, is a satire on the redundancy of appointment viewing. Directed by top ad filmmaker Amit Sharma, the campaign’s lead promotional film is set in a small-town sweetmeats shop where a group of friends bunch up to watch the TATA IPL, albeit digitally, and that’s where the core message of the campaign kicks in. It features Dhoni and Yadav caught in the thick of their respective matches, being abruptly and humorously interrupted only to find out that live match action is, in fact, being controlled by this group of friends.

More bystanders come and join this group of friends as they sample this exciting new way of experiencing the TATA IPL. The cricket stars break the fourth wall and plead with the fans not to tinker with the screen too much, be it with the camera angles or replaying key moments, and instead allow them to carry on playing. The underlying thought is ingeniously put forward through this exchange, by demonstrating how watching the TATA IPL on JioCinema offers fans an unprecedented degree of autonomy during live action, something that TV cannot offer.

“Consumers are embracing interactivity across lifestyle digital services. Screen gestures like scrolling, swiping, pinching, zooming and scrubbing have become muscle memory. So why should the TATA IPL still be watched the old-fashioned, passive way? Our campaign attempts to reboot consumers’ expectations about how they will experience the TATA IPL this season. Through a suite of immersive fan-centric digital offerings, JioCinema will hand over the power to fans and viewers, giving them unprecedented control over how, when, and where they watch their favourite teams and players,” said Viacom18’s Creative Head of Marketing, Shagun Seda.

“JioCinema is going to change the way we watch TATA IPL forever. Our campaign speaks to India’s youth who demand and get the maximum out of their digital entertainment. JioCinema is the best app to offer them the TATA IPL experience like never before,” said Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy India.

The campaign Digital India Ka Digital TATA IPL will also feature a slew of other TVCs that will hero a series of features – be it free-streaming, first-time ever 4K streaming, commentary in 12 languages, multi-cam mode, 360 VR, multiple feeds that will elevate the average fan’s viewing experience. Conceptualized by Ogilvy and produced by Chrome Pictures, Digital India Ka Digital TATA IPL is a 360-degree campaign spanning print, digital, and OOH avenues, among others.

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