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IPL media rights auction: Disney refuses to bow down before Reliance

Disney knows that not only Rs 5,500 crore (current revenue from IPL) will be wiped out from its annual revenues but it will also have to re-draw its plans for India market if it blinks

Considered to be a conservative player in the media and entertainment industry, Disney has surprised everyone with its aggressive bid on Day-1 of e-auction for IPL media rights. 

The way the India broadcast and digital rights are playing out, it is evident that the global content giant has locked horns with its former employee Uday Shankar who is leading the bid for Reliance-backed Viacom18. on Friday reported that Star, which built Hotstar riding on the IPL wave, is said to be set to put up a strong fight for digital rights this time. 

“With Walt Disney Chairman, International Content and Operations, Rebecca Campbell camping in India, the broadcast and digital player is again in the limelight as a strong contender,” the report said.

While the bid amount for digital rights has almost touched Rs 20,000 crore versus Rs 23,000 crore for the broadcast rights, the per match combined cost stands at Rs 105 crore. 

The bid for TV went up to Rs 57 crore per game from its base price of Rs 49 crore and India digital rights witnessed an unbelievable growth from its Rs 33 crore to Rs 48 crore per game.

The e-auction will resume on Monday.

Considering the auction for both the rights is still continuing, Disney does not seem to step back.

K Madhavan, President, The Walt Disney Company India and Star India, had earlier hinted that Disney will bid aggressively till the time it makes business sense for them. 

However, Campbell’s camping for the IPL media rights auction is a clear hint that the global entertainment conglomerate will not leave any stone unturned to defend the rights. 

If Disney blinks, not only Rs 5,500 crore (current revenue from IPL) will be wiped out from its annual revenues but the entertainment leader will also have to re-draw its plans for India market.

A media analyst said that the network made IPL revenues 3 times bigger than what it was five years back. “Having said that, if the overall revenue per match in 2022 was Rs 74 crore, the network sees the potential to cross Rs 200 crore of revenue per match by 2027,” the analyst said.

The 2022 revenue per match at Rs 74 crore is roughly 35% higher than what was paid for media rights per match at Rs 54.5 crore.

“Going by this logic, Disney may see the business sense in acquiring the combined media rights at Rs 150 crore per match. If it happens, the India rights will cross Rs 60,000 crore,” the analyst added.

The bid for Package A (India TV Rights) and Package B (India Digital Rights) remained inconclusive on Sunday.

Once the auction for Package A and B is over, the winner of package B can challenge for Package C which has 18 non-exclusive digital rights game for Rs 16 crore per game and subsequently Package D (Overseas TV and Digital combined rights at Rs 3 crore per game) will come up for bidding.

For Package C and D, the BCCI is expecting roughly Rs 5500 crore.

The market watchers are saying that Zee could come hard for Package D as it has already got an overseas dedicated viewership base with its Zee TV serials and now they also have their ZEE5 app.

"With Rs 3 crore as base price, Zee could up their game in that category," PTI said quoting a source.

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