Factors causing a paradigm shift in sports broadcasting in India

During the first SVG Summit held in India on April 30, 2024, Sanjog Gupta, Head of Sports at Disney Star, highlighted the factors impacting the growth of sports consumption in India and the evolution of sports broadcasting

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Delhi: The sports broadcasting landscape is seeing paradigm shifts across the world, driven by profound, irreversible and far-reaching forces, created by rapidly evolving consumers and consumption-altering technology, said Sanjog Gupta, Head of Sports Disney Star, during the SVG Summit held on April 30, 2024.

Star Sports hosted the SVG Summit in Mumbai, marking the first time this event was held in India.

Emphasising the trends that are reshaping sports broadcasting in India, he categorised them into the "4Ds of media disruption."

1. Disaggregation of attention

Consumers have more media choices than ever before and are also more distracted than ever before. 

“The itch to switch has never been higher. It's a war for attention and no content genre has the right to be entitled, not even Sports. You have to earn each second of attention,” said Gupta. 

2. Decentralisation of platforms 

The concept of a singular destination for content is significantly challenged.

“We grew up knowing exactly where to watch what. That is no longer the case. There is no one way to consume content. In fact, the same content is also available in so many different forms,” commented Gupta.

3. Democratisation of creation

The asymmetry in resources required for the creation and distribution of content has diminished. 

He said, “It has never been easier to be a creator and find an audience. Seeing through the eyes of others is now the primary media choice for many.”

4. Digitisation of experiences

The accelerated adoption of technology is forcing a re-definition of experiential delight. Explaining the same, Gupta said, “How we experience life around us, from work to play, and by that - media - is changing in every way. What is considered "normal" has evolved from tapping on a screen to having ear-buds on all the time to now gesture-based AR.”

He further said these forces need us to continually re-imagine sports viewing experiences. And as custodians of sport and cultivators of fandom, we must keep asking the question - "What's next?"

The Sports Video Group was formed in 2006 to support the professional community that relies on video, audio, and broadband technologies to produce and distribute sports content. 

Gupta asserted that India is at a significant milestone in its sports journey. Sports in India is on the move, propelled by socio-economic, societal, lifestyle and institutional forces.

“Firstly, the burgeoning Indian middle class is projected to hit 500 million by 2025. This will correspond with increased discretionary spending, meaning higher spending on avenues of recreation and entertainment, which include sports. Secondly, there is the increasing awareness of health standards which are driving the adoption of lifestyles and participation in sport. Thirdly, there is also strong institutional support for Sport with the government seeing it as an instrument of nation-building and global diplomacy,” explained Gupta. 

While cricket and especially IPL viewership is on the rise, Gupta emphasised on the growth of sports like Kabaddi and Football, which both have more than 250 million viewers engaging with them every year.

“Serving this scale and ambitions of growth has also stimulated the development of a robust ecosystem of talent, technology and innovations which can deliver customised, cost-efficient and consumer-focused services,” he added. 

He then went on to highlight Disney Star’s investment in sports production. “A few examples come to mind, including our investment in remote productions in 2014, which led to the delivery of our first fully remote global broadcast in 2015 and shaped the future of Cricket viewing in India with more than 10 fully customised parallel feeds being offered to different audience cohorts.” 

Gupta added, “In 2019, we launched interactive features including Watch n' Play and chats as part of the live Cricket viewing experience on Hotstar - our OTT app. Last year, we also delivered a world-first 'made for mobile' vertical live broadcast in partnership with ICC, but more on that later.”

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