Women’s IPL: Better to sell media rights before franchise auction, says IPL Chairman

BCCI has not set any base price for the Women's IPL rights

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Dec 20, 2022 10:17 AM  | 1 min read
Women's IPL

IPL Chairman Arun Dhumal has said that selling media rights for Women's IPL before conducting the auction for franchises will help prospective team buyers get a better perspective of the possible revenue, media networks have said.

The BCCI has not set any base price for the Women's IPL rights and is waiting for the markets to set the price, Dhumal was quoted as saying.

BCCI is expected to earn about Rs 107 crore per match in the men’s IPL from 2023 onwards.

Click here for our earlier report.

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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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Viacom18’s ‘free’ IPL streaming: Will the wager pay off? Industry weighs in

With no subscription fee for the IPL streaming, JioCinema will have to solely depend on advertisers for revenue, caution industry observers

By Kanchan Srivastava | Mar 15, 2023 1:01 PM   |   6 min read


Viacom18, the digital media rights owner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), last month took a gambit by announcing that the tourney would be streamed free of cost on its JioCinema App for users across telecom networks.

With less than two weeks to go for the men’s league, which is expected to be India's largest streaming event ever with estimated 500 million people tuning in, the media and advertising circle is abuzz with varied opinions. 

Experts have been questioning the sustainability of the free-IPL offering for JioCinema.

JioCinema created a buzz when it decided to telecast the FIFA World Cup 2022 for free for viewers across telecom networks in India. The app is owned by Reliance Group’s media company Viacom18.

To put it in context, Reliance Jio is the largest telecom operator in the country with nearly 425 million users, as per TRAI’s latest report.

On Jio’s recent free-streaming offer, a media leader said, “With no subscription model for the IPL stream, Viacom18 will have to solely depend on advertisers for revenue that too at a time when advertisers have tightened their purse strings due to inflation and global economic concerns.”

It's noteworthy that Viacom18’s strategy is in stark contrast to the previous digital partner Disney+Hotstar, which used to offer IPL to paid subscribers only.

While Viacom18 claims that its free offering aims “to eliminate all barriers for IPL consumption”, the company’s move is being viewed as an attempt to take on rival Disney star, which would be the only broadcast partner of IPL for the next five years.

Early this year, Viacom18 bagged IPL digital media rights by shelling out Rs 23,758 crore for the 2023-2027 media cycle, almost similar to what Disney Star spent to buy TV rights for five years. This comes to around Rs 4,750 crore per year, for both the media partners of BCCI.

After committing roughly Rs 48,000 crore to the nation's top sports league, both Disney-Star and Viacom18 are vying for a share of estimated Rs 4,000-crore IPL advertising pie. After all, IPL is the most sought-after property for advertisers. 

“Recovering the cost may be an uphill task for both of them in this season. It wasn't so earlier since both the rights were owned by the same media house,” an industry player noted.

Digital ad inventory

The rate of ad inventory of digital platforms remains low compared to TV, which ranges from ¼ to 1/10 depending on the ad format. This is despite digital getting a large number of advertisers, including SMBs, say experts.

Moreover, Jio has kept its ad rate low compared to what Disney+Hotstar was charging till last season.

According to sources, JioCinema’s ad rates range between Rs 200-300 CPM (cost per thousand impressions). The ad rate for a Connected TV ad campaign is Rs 6 lakh per 10 seconds.

In contrast, Disney Star’s rate is Rs 16-17 lakh for 10-second ads as of now, which may go up during the semi-finals and finals.

Dr Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director of Rediffusion group, opines that Viacom18 would sail through since Reliance Group has deep pockets.

“Reliance Group must be having a long-term perspective on investments. Jio can afford to experiment with different models. That said, a self-serve model for advertisers could open up the floodgates for even small to medium advertisers,” he pointed out.

According to Dr Goyal, “Jio’s experiment could change the digital landscape quite considerably. A much larger number of advertisers with tiny budgets could make a beeline to the digital IPL streaming. Apertures of opportunity are manifold.”

As per Jigar Rambhia, COO, SporJo, “Viacom18 should attract a good number of sponsors for sure. Whether they will recover the costs or not, only time will tell.”

Some experts call it a customer acquisition strategy for Jio. Rambhia agrees, “I guess this (free streaming) will only help increase the reach of the property which is a very good thing.”

He further said that if users want to watch the property and if it’s free and they only have to pay for data, then I believe it’s a win-win for everyone. Ultimately, we need to pay for good quality content whether it's via platform fees or via data costs.

I guess all kinds of advertisers will explore this option. There is no reason for any particular sector to look at only digital.

How many Indians could afford data cost?

Watching a three-hour IPL match on mobile phone and connected TV would require 3-10 GB data depending on mobile specification, video quality (SD, HD, 4k) and data speed (3G, 4G, 5G), experts shared.

On average, the cost of one GB data in India is Rs 14, which means a viewer will have to pay anything between Rs 28 to Rs 140 just to watch one match of IPL. For the entire tournament of 74 matches, the data cost could go up to Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.

Speaking with e4m last month, Viacom officials had disputed claims about data usage and cost. They insisted that an average user would need just 2 GB of data to watch IPL. They also stated that most viewers would not watch a full IPL match but a portion of it and so data cost will not be an issue.

Viacom18 didn’t respond to questionnaires on ad rate, data cost, and their strategy to recover the investment cost.  An email shared with them remained unanswered till the time of publishing.

Days ahead of IPL, Reliance Jio on Tuesday introduced a new set of Post-Paid Family Plans – Jio Plus -which will allow a family of four to try its 5G services absolutely free of cost for a month.

The new plan launched Tuesday starts from Rs 399 ranging to a total monthly charge of Rs 696 for a family of 4, that comes to just Rs 99 per additional member. The plan can be cancelled, if the user is still not satisfied with the value proposition.

Jio said in a press release that it was committed to providing transformational benefits, such as unlimited True 5G Data, through the Jio Welcome Offer, single bill for the entire family, data sharing, premium content apps, and much more.

“The idea behind launching Jio Plus is to offer exciting new benefits and experiences to discerning post-paid users. Jio has further strengthened its network experience by expanding True 5G to 331 cities. After having serviced over 430 million customers, there cannot be a more opportune time to welcome millions of new post-paid customers,” said Akash M Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio Infocomm.

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Women in cricket: The new stars of the endorsement universe

Women's Premier League has boosted the public profiles of women cricketers, enhancing their brand value and share in AdEx

By Nilanjana Basu | Mar 14, 2023 8:56 AM   |   5 min read

Women's cricket

Till a few years ago there was hardly any chatter about women’s cricket but now it’s part of several conversations, thanks to the Women’s Premier League (WPL) and brands coming forth to support through endorsements and sponsorship deals.

WPL has bagged big sponsors like the TATA Group and Amul. Viacom18 has got the broadcast rights for five years at a price of Rs 951 crore, with each match valued at Rs 7.09 crore. As per reports, WPL is the second most expensive women's sports league in the world after the Women's National Basketball Association in the United States. Women’s cricket has also registered a decent audience, thanks to digital viewing formats. 

We got experts to weigh in on whether this rise in brand value for women cricketers was here to stay and how brands could make the best use of these star players.

Building ‘Stars’

According to Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, WPL is helping popularize women cricketers in India and adding to their brand value. “The launch of WPL and the hype in media will undoubtedly raise the public profiles of women cricketers, and not just for Indian women cricketers but also players in the league from other countries. I think this is a significant step for India in terms of popularising sportswomen in general, and enhancing their brand values. Their earnings from participation and brand endorsements have unfortunately been lower on an average than their male counterparts.”

Sharing more on the creation of star personas was Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and Angel Investor. “I think it (creation of WPL) is a very positive sign. It kind of indicates the importance of women's cricket. Therefore, in a sense, it will bring a lot of visibility to the sport and to women's cricket. And I think overall that will also get the attention of consumers, and therefore businesses and brands. So, I think it's a good step, it's going to help the cause of women's sports in general. I think it’s a good indication that women's sports is here to stay.”

Mathias cited instances of cricketers like Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues making it to the top headlines, for all the right reasons. “About 10 years back people hardly knew the names of women cricketers. Today most people can name quite a few. So, more media attention, more tournaments and more commercialization. This is going to be a big fillip to women's sports in general. And obviously, in terms of cricket, it'll create a lot more stars.”

Arshi Yasin, CEO & Co-founder of The Bridge, a publication focusing on women’s sports says WPL cricketers will soon become household names. "Cricket paves the way for other sports in our country - be it for men or women. So definitely WPL is the foundation and the first step in the growth of women in sports. It's a welcome move for a healthy and diverse sports ecosystem.”

Yasin further said that the rising popularity will attract brand endorsements and more women cricketers will now be seen in brand campaigns.”

Brand Talk

Shreya Sachdev, Head of Marketing at PUMA India, says WPL will do for women cricketers what IPL did for male players. “The brand value of the men’s IPL has jumped a staggering 318% from 2009 to 2022, and with it, that of the male cricketers who are part of the league. As a partner of Royal Challengers Bangalore men’s team, PUMA’s brand equity has received a positive boost, furthering our commitment towards driving sports culture in the country. We are confident that WPL will similarly bolster the brand value of cricketers and our association with the women’s team of RCB will undoubtedly be beneficial for our continued growth momentum as the leading sports brand in the country. WPL is a long-term investment for us and a significant extension of our objective to support women athletes across disciplines such as cricket, boxing, track and field, football and hockey.”

Another leading name in the sports endorsement world, Lakshmi Narayanan B, CMO - CEAT Limited said, "Indian cricket fans associate Strategic Time Out with CEAT. It’s been a long-standing association and we saw a huge opportunity to extend it to women’s premier league as well. Cricket is a passion for CEAT and as women’s cricket takes a larger stage within the country, we are very happy to be a part of this new paradigm which keeps us connected with our consumers."

Asked about the effect of WPL on women players’ contribution to ad expenditure, Mathias says, “I think this is a leg up, it'll always be dependent on the relevance of the sport. So, cricket is obviously important. But even in the past, we've seen when P V Sindhu won an Olympic medal, there was a surge in interest. Similarly, when Sania Mirza won grand slams and doubles, there was a big uptick for sport. I think whenever sportswomen do well, it creates a lot of noise. But a team sport like cricket getting all this attention is a very positive sign. It will surely draw the attention of businesses and brand marketers.”

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IPL 2023: Disney Star signs 11 sponsors and 55 brands

Dream11, Airtel, Coke, Asian Paints, Pepsi, Tata and Vivo are among the main sponsors, said sources privy to the matter

By Naziya Alvi Rahman | Mar 10, 2023 1:24 PM   |   1 min read


As IPL 2023 nears, Disney Star has signed 11 sponsors and has more than 55 brands onboard so far, revealed sources close to the development. Dream11, Airtel, Coke, Asian Paints, Pepsi, Tata and Vivo are believed to be some of the main sponsors. While the broadcaster is tight-lipped about the details, highly placed sources have confirmed the development to exchange4media.

It is also learnt that the 55 brands that have signed the deals are largely from categories like fantasy gaming, beverage, telecom, Fintech, Insurance, Auto, Online delivery, Consumer Durables, Paints, FMCG and travel.

“Details of presenter and co-presenter sponsors, and additionally many other deals are still under discussion,” revealed a source.

exchange4media reached out to Disney Star for comments but did not get a response at the time of filing of this story.

Earlier this week, Disney Star announced that it will telecast 12 IPL matches on its free-to-air channel Star Utsav Movies for the first time since the network bought TV rights to the tournament. The move is expected to give a big boost to Disney Star's viewership in the rural market.

“With Jio giving them competition this year, the broadcaster is playing smart and coming up with newer ways to catch more brands. One should expect the number to cross 75 as they near the tournament," said another industry veteran.

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Viacom18 names MS Dhoni as brand ambassador

The cricketer to amplify network’s digital proposition, the company said

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 9, 2023 1:46 PM   |   2 min read


Viacom18 has announced cricketer MS Dhoni as their brand ambassador. Dhoni will amplify the network’s vision for making live sports viewing synonymous with digital, the company said.

“Dhoni, one of the most revered players in world cricket, will work with Viacom18 to make digital the preferred platform for fans to watch their favourite sport. The Chennai Super Kings icon will participate in several network initiatives featured on the JioCinema, Sports18 and his social media accounts. Fondly known as ‘Thala’, he will feature in JioCinema’s upcoming TATA IPL campaign,” the network shared.

“I truly believe that watching sports is best enjoyed when you can catch your favourite action on-the-go or from the comfort of your own home but with interactivity, choice and personalisation, something that only a digital platform can offer,” said MS Dhoni. “JioCinema is taking the proposition to a whole new level by engaging with fans in ways one could never think of. I can’t wait to be part of this paradigm shift and what is the future of sports viewing.”

“MS Dhoni’s leadership and game-changing abilities are well-documented, but his humble and grounded personality resonates with the digital natives, who value authenticity and transparency,” said Viacom18 – Sports CEO Anil Jayaraj. “Dhoni has set unparalleled benchmarks and evolved rapidly, which aligns with our vision and proposition on how sports viewing is best experienced on digital.”

“The peaks MS Dhoni continues to scale come through his innate ability to adapt and innovate, and that makes him a perfect fit for Viacom18’s ground-breaking digital-first offerings,” said MS Dhoni’s Manager (Midas Deals), Swaminathan Sankar. “Dhoni’s pan-India appeal will fortify the network’s ambition to reach out to every possible cricket fan and sports viewer.”



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Investing in WPL team was always on top of our agenda: Prathamesh Mishra, RCB

In an exclusive interview with e4m, RCB chairman Mishra, who is currently the Chief Commercial Officer of Diageo India, shared his objectives behind buying the women's IPL team

By Kanchan Srivastava | Mar 6, 2023 9:13 AM   |   4 min read

Piyush Mishra

“Breaking barriers, making history, and playing bold!” Prathamesh Mishra, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) chairman, posted on Twitter soon after winning the Women's Premier League Team in January this year. 

After all, having two IPL teams in hand, both men and women, is no less feat although it came with huge investments of Rs 901 crore to be precise for the women's team. 

Apart from the larger goal of empowering women, what was the goal behind buying a WPL team? Mishra says there's more to gender inclusivity than just the tag.

“Gender inclusivity is not just a statement, but there is a value attached to it. Inclusivity and diversity is at the core of Diageo India. Our workforce represents true society. For instance, in my sales team, women constitute 23 percent. Hence, when the WPL opportunity came, we decided to go for it. Not going after this opportunity (WPL) didn't make sense.”

"Diageo wants to be part of India’s growth story and seeks to inspire everyone so that all can come and play”, Mishra says, adding, “It is our responsibility to contribute to the nation's progress. Investing in the women’s team has always been on top of our agenda. We have invested Rs 901 Crores to get this team because this mission is really important for this country.”

We believe India will move if we convert sports & fitness from hobby to lifestyle and we are committed to this agenda, says Mishra who feels that nations can grow if there is gender parity. 

What is RCB's larger game plan with the women's team now? Diageo India executive holds his cards close. 

“We have just got the team, we are putting a plan in motion. Everything is moving so fast, the WPL has begun, soon after the men's IPL will start. We have the roadmap, we can drive a larger purpose. Give us some time,” Mishra says diplomatically. 

We are going to make a new set of icons. Same properties, 12 in total, will be in place for women IPL.

The men’s IPL, glamorized by celebrity owners and top cricket players, has changed many aspects of the game’s concepts worldwide, making the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) the world’s richest cricket body. 

Perhaps that's why the board earned nearly Rs 4,600 crore from the maiden auction of the WPL team despite economic constraints. Royal Challengers Bangalore made a successful bid of reportedly ₹901 crore, slightly lesser than Mumbai Indians' who got the women's team at the estimated cost of Rs 912 crore. 

At such whopping costs, how many years would it take for the teams to get a return of investments? Mishra says that it's all about making a good start and making a place at the league's first.

“This league will be successful if everyone comes together. If the men's league took 10 years to reach this position, can the women’s counterpart reach there in five years? This is our strategy,” he remarks with a twinkle in his eye. 

We are confident that the WPL will go a long way not just in boosting women's cricket in India but also mark a journey in equal participation of women in society at large,” Mishra says, though he refuses to share any numbers.

 “We can’t talk about numbers as we are a listed company. Shareholders need to be told first about the WPL team and the numbers involved in it. Wait till March 31,” he says politely.  

Global Lifestyle Brand

In terms of extended lifestyle proposition, RCB already owns a wide range of businesses like Bar & Cafe, Royal Challengers Sports Pvt Ltd (athleisure), fitness app Hustle that is a subscription-based live and on-demand fitness solution product, plant-based meat brand ‘RCB Uncut’, mocktail premixes ‘Dash of RCB’, Metaverse and NFT. 

What is in the pipeline for this global lifestyle brand now? “Everything will be disclosed soon. Just wait,” Mishra laughs. 

Social Media Engagement

At the core of RCB’s brand-building lies its enormous fan-following and social media engagement that can give other IPL teams a run for their money. 

In 2022, the Bengaluru-based franchise was the only non-football team to feature in the global top 5 rankings of the highest social media engagement compiled by D&F, Mishra shares with pride. 

While the list was topped by Real Madrid with 2.0 billion interactions, followed by FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) with 1.7 billion, 1.4 billion, and 1.0 billion engagements on social media, respectively, RCB was 5th with 924 million interactions. 

“It is set to grow further. We are creating a robust social media strategy for WPL as well,” says Mishra. 

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Disney Star to attract more mass brands by putting IPL on FTA channel

The broadcaster will be telecasting 12 IPL matches on its channel Star Utsav, which is available on Free Dish

By Naziya Alvi Rahman | Mar 6, 2023 8:51 AM   |   3 min read


In yet another move to target mass brands, this year Disney Star will be telecasting 12 of the matches on its free-to-air channel Star Utsav Movies, for the first time since buying the TV rights of the Indian Premier League five years ago.

e4m exclusively flashed the story on March 4.

This is the first time IPL will be aired on Free Dish and the move is expected to give a big boost to Disney Star's viewership in the rural market.

Sources at Star claim that the move aims to give an unserved audience cohort the opportunity to sample the quality content proposition that Star Sports presently makes available only to its Pay TV subscribers. “As income and aspiration levels grow among FTA viewers, Disney Star expects that many of them, based on their viewing experience of this content, will transition to Pay TV, helping this universe grow further from its current base of 168 million connections (BARC Data),” said an official.

However, industry sources add that this could also be Disney Star’s strategy to counter Viacom18 Sports’ move to streaming the tournament for free on Jio. Experts also see this as a strategy to increase their viewership numbers to attract brands catering to mass audiences.

“This will help them attract FMCG brands, which cater to audiences in tier two and three markets. However, the move will not make any difference to high-end or even mid-segment brands as the population that subscribes to FTA channels may not be big spenders,” said a media planner.

For the first time in the history of IPL, media rights have been sold to two different networks and both sides are leaving no stone unturned to attract advertisers and maximise the revenue.

“This year, Disney Star is taking a number of steps to grow its ad revenue and expanding the advertiser base by targeting both corporate and small & medium business (SMB) advertisers. Early last month they also announced selling their regional feed separately to small local advertisers. This is something they had not done before,” said another planner.

Earlier in January, Sports18 announced that it would stream IPL for free in 11 regional languages. The matches will be available free on the Jio app and that too in 11 different languages, including Bhojpuri, Tamil and Bengali.

Reacting to the same, Karan Taurani of Elara Capital claimed that the move is primarily on the back of viewership growth pressure that Star may have anticipated due to IPL being available free on Jio Cinema and due to a general decline in the Pay TV household base. “This is a good strategy by Star as it may keep the Pay TV household number intact, and more than compensate for the losses made by reduction in Pay TV households (annual loss of 3%, which is 5 million households), as against the addition of 35-40 million FTA households. This, in turn, will provide a competitive edge for Star vs Jio Cinema, and make total viewership reach possible towards 500 million, putting it on par with what Jio Cinema has been providing marketers,” he added.

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