In a first for Amazon Prime Video India, the SVOD platform will be introducing advertising on the platform during India men’s tour of New Zealand beginning November 18, 2022.
Commenting on bringing ads on Prime Video in India, Chaitanya Divan, Head of Sports, Prime Video, India, said, “We already have a robust Amazon advertising business which works with partners outside of Prime Video. Our brand partners want to reach out to the premium and highly engaged Prime customer base across the country. Now with cricket, we have that opportunity. Cricket allows seamless integration of ads to the live feed.”
Even after bringing advertising on the platform, Divan said that the platform has ensured the customer viewing experience is not hampered.
He said, “Our research tells us that our customers love watching Live sports, but excess and abundance of commercial messages on screen takes away from that experience. We are hence being very mindful in terms of the number of advertisers and the way ads are shown during the Live matches.”
He said that Prime Video will be maintaining a very high bar on the customer experience and limit the number of advertisers and the commercial messages the platform puts out on the Live feed.
The global OTT major has created two categories of sponsorship – Presenting Sponsors and Associate Sponsors.
“Outside this category, we will have a limited advertising inventory that will be offered to some brand partners who want to reach this premium base,” Divan told BestMediaInfo.com.
Airtel Xstream Fiber has come on board as the presenting sponsor. MPL, Nescafé, Noise, OLX Autos, and Vida have become associate sponsors. Brands including AMFI and DBS will also be advertising on the OTT platform during the matches.
Divan said that the brands on board are also appreciating the limited number of advertisers aimed at a seamless viewing experience.
“Even brands are valuing great customer experience because it allows them to reach the premium Prime customer base along with allowing them to advertise in a low cluttered environment,” said Divan.
Without throwing much light on ad rates for the series, Divan said that ad revenue is not the platform’s priority. “Our priority is to deliver a fantastic customer experience. At the end of it, we want to be able to walk away with satisfied customers and brand partners. Everything else is output metrics which will follow,” commented Divan.
Both India and New Zealand will face off in a limited-overs series featuring three T20s and 3 ODIs that will be played between November 18 and November 30, 2022. The series will be Live on Prime Video, the official India territory rights holder to exclusively stream all men’s and women’s cricket matches played in New Zealand.
Prime Video secured exclusive cricket rights from New Zealand Cricket in November 2020.
Talking about how sports will add to the bouquet of Prime Video offerings, Sushant Sreeram, Director - SVOD business, Prime Video, India, said, “Prime Video India has been consistently delivering great entertainment in the form of shows and movies. Now we have added Live sports to it. When you put it all together – global and Indian originals, movies across 10 languages and shows, it is the sum total that really stands out.”
Recently, Prime Video streamed the T20 tri-series between New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Pakistan starting October 7.
Globally, Prime Video has some known marque sports properties such as ‘Thursday Night Football’, which comes live exclusively in the US and ‘English Premier League’ and ‘Roland Garros’ in the UK. The platform boasts of several other big sports properties available on the platform across the world.
“We take sports very seriously. Therefore, in the same manner, we have introduced cricket on Prime Video in India. Our focus is on premium marque properties that the consumers love and drive deep passion among fans. That’s why cricket made sense for us to start with,” added Divan.
Although cricket is by far the most popular sport in India, Divan added, “We must not restrict to one sport. Even if a sport has a niche fan following in India, those fans are deeply engaged and loyal. They present an opportunity for us to onboard deeply engaged customers across different sports content as well.”
When asked if Live cricket streaming will help Prime Video increase its subscribers base, Sreeram said, “One can gauge it from the way we are getting ready from the technology standpoint to be able to host a huge number of people to watch the match at the same time making it an extremely seamless experience. Combined with the fact we are watched and streamed from 99% of pin codes in India, it is going to be a watershed moment for sure in the journey of Prime Video.”
Prime Video will deliver live commentary and match programming in English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. The graphics on the screen will also be available in the language of the audience's choice.
Customers joining live stream in the middle of the match will be able to quickly catch up on the match played so far using the “Rapid Recap” feature before transitioning to the live stream automatically.
Prime Video will also offer an English language live one-hour pre-show before each game. The mid-innings break will feature a 15-minute show which will be a recap of the first innings and a preview of the second. The live programming also involves a 30 min post-match presentation and analysis by Prime Video’s stable of cricket experts. This presentation will happen from the venue and not from the inside of a studio.
Prime members can experience an in-game language selector. This new feature will allow customers to change playback language (e.g., English to Hindi) seamlessly without exiting the player.
Divan said, “With such immersive offerings during the matches, we want to deliver a deep localised experience for our fans. The intention is to take the viewers really close to the action on the ground.”
Former captains and cricketers like Ravi Shastri, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Gundappa Viswanath, Anjum Chopra, Venkatpathy Raju, among others, will be bringing the matches alive with their insightful commentary in different languages as India tries to set the record straight against New Zealand.
The full slate of commentators for the series includes the following names:
English - Ravi Shastri, Harsha Bhogle, Anjum Chopra, Simon Doull and Murali Kartik, Gaurav Kapoor –(Presenter)
Hindi - Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif and Ajit Agarkar
Tamil - WV Raman, Hemang Badani and L Sivaramakrishnan, S Sriram
Kannada - Gundappa Viswanath, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shankar Prakash, Venkatesh Prasad, K Jeshwant
Telugu - Venkatpathy Raju, Sunitha Anand, Sudhir Malwvedi, Vijay Malwvedi
To build awareness around the upcoming India-New Zealand matches, Prime Video has launched a six-part mini-series ‘Taking Guard: India’s Quest for Kiwi Glory’. The special programming will showcase India’s fabled rivalry with the Kiwis, going back to 1967, through archival match footage, soundbytes and graphics.
Along with the mini-series, Sreeram told BestMediaInfo.com that the OTT platform is working very closely with the players, teams and commentators to create content around the tour to put it in context.
Not just through content, Prime Video has also created a media-led campaign that will take flight across marketing channels.
Giving hints about the insight of the campaign, Sreeram said, “India-New Zealand rivalry might not rank at the top of the intense rivalries the Indian team has had in the past, but if one digs a little deeper, we have a very powerful insight into the history of the rivalry between the Indian and New Zealand cricket teams that not many might have noticed.”
He further said, “Cricket doesn’t need excitement building. It comes pre-built with excitement. It is an absolute unifier in a diverse country like India. It makes marketing the series a little easier for us. Our marketing strategy is a combination of building interesting content around the series to build context and the core insight around which we have pegged the entire campaign.”
Divan added, “The strength of two teams is going to drive a lot of organic interest among the fans. We are expecting it to deliver a very high viewership.”
Recently, Prime Video launched the Prime Video Mobile edition priced at Rs 599 per year available to all customers in India.
According to Sreeram, this will democratise access to high-quality entertainment and with the India men’s tour of New Zealand, its launch timing makes more sense.
“While the launch of the mobile edition was not done just for cricket, the timing matched. We had Prime Video Mobile edition available for our telco partner for a year and a half now and the results are fantabulous. It just made obvious sense to make this available for everybody. It will help broaden access to not just Live cricket, but also democratise access to high-quality cinematic content,” he said.