Reliance-owned JioCinema, which has live streaming right for the Tata IPL, expects to recoup the investments made to acquire it before next three years, encouraged by 'record number' of viewership and backing of advertisers, NewsDrum reported quoting a top company official on Thursday.
JioCinema is quite upbeat after it achieved the highest concurrent viewership of 2.2 crore on Wednesday in the match played between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in Tata IPL 2023 and expects many more records as the over 70 matches tournaments proceed to knock out stages.
The streaming platform has so far taken 23 sponsors on board and has signed over 100 small advertisers.
The number would grow as the almost two-month-long T20 tournament progresses further, Viacom18 Sports CEO Anil Jayaraj.
When asked whether Reliance would break even or recoup the investment in IPL as it has given free streaming, he said, "Our original plan for break-even was in year three and thereabouts but we are doing much better than that." The business plan was built for a five-year period, he said, adding, "in year one, we are well ahead of that plan."
Asked if that meant the company would reach its target ahead of schedule, Jayaraj said, "Hopefully that will happen."
This season, IPL viewership is having a competition between TV and digital with the cricket board BCCI selling the broadcast rights for the 2023-27 cycle of the IPL for a whopping Rs 48,390 crore.
Disney Star bagged the television rights for the Indian subcontinent for Rs 23,575 crore and Reliance-backed Viacom18 got digital rights for Rs 20,500 crore.
According to Jayaraj, the digital platform due to its reach is providing flexibility to its advertisers and due to its addressability to specific genre of the audience, it is attracting advertisers with small budgets also.
"What advertisers want is a massive reach in a short period of time, which digital offers. It also works in a targeted way (selecting an audience). Second, there are no limitations of the budget also," he said.
For example, in TV if an advertiser does not have a budget of a few crores, it would not work. But in digital, even someone has Rs 50 lakh only, with that reach to the relevant people, Jayaraj said.
On TV vs live online streaming, Jayaraj said a large number of people have put their money into digital and that number is growing, said Jayaraj.
"This year we will have at least 8-9 times the advertisers that TV has. There would be very few advertisers, barely three or four, which had decided to put money on only TV and not digital," he said, adding, "there is a dramatic shift from TV advertising to digital advertising." IPL would be among the first few tournaments, where spending on digital advertising would be higher than TV, he added.
"In year two or three, after looking at this year's result, advertisers would completely switch to digital," said Jayaraj.
JioCinema is providing high quality 4K feed with Multi-cam and Hype Mode. Besides, it also provides live commentary with a choice of vernacular languages, including Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Marathi, and Gujarati.
"No Indian should have a lack of access to a language that people across the country understand," he asserted.
When asked about charging its sponsors, he said it is not a fixed amount like TV. It is based on cost per million impressions.
"As we are providing 4K feed, premium end advertisers are shifting there and also a lot of mass advertisers are also shifting to digital because of measurability," he said.
At the end of every match, the advertisers get a report and they pay according to the number of eyes it has attracted during the ad breaks.
"In IPL breaks are very controlled, just 30-40 seconds. The biggest advantage digital has here is if someone is not watching the ad during the break, then he is not targeted and the advertiser does not pay for that. This is because we measure," he said, adding, "it's very transparent in that way." This measuring system is working "very well" with large, medium and small advertisers.
"The real growth is happening on the back of the top end of the pyramid with 4K and connected TV," he said.
Jayaraj is also upbeat over the record numbers of viewers on Jiocinema. While talking about Wednesday's match, he said the concurrency record has reached the 2.23 crore mark.
This was the highest concurrent viewership in the history of IPL. The last highest concurrency was 1.8 crore, he added.
"Our superior tech can withstand the high level of concurrency – record concurrency, and there will be a high level of concurrency by the time the final happens there will be different records," said Jayaraj.