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Will OTT platforms weather the IPL storm with new shows or surrender?

Some industry experts believe that OTT platforms should not fear releasing new content during the Indian Premier League (IPL), while others say launching anything during the tournament won't work for the platforms

In the beginning years of IPL, not many TV channels were used to launch impact properties during the tournament. But with time, TV channels took the bold step to start introducing new shows even if IPL was on considering the fatigue factor.

Now, TV channels are undeterred by IPL and continue launching impact properties even during the IPL days.

Likewise, will the OTT platforms weather the IPL storm and go ahead with new show launches given JioCinema is offering the tournament for free viewing?

Well, the experts have divided opinions on the topic.

One side says that OTT platforms should hold back their impact properties for launches and the other side is of the notion that there is an audience for all kinds of content and OTTs should continue catering to the audience’s varied content needs.

Karan Taurani

Karan Taurani, Senior Analyst at Elara Capital, believes that IPL has never been a threat to any other content platform. “If we look at movies as well, when IPL had started coming out for the first couple of years and it was new as a property everybody wanted to watch every match entirely so new films were not getting released back then. But in the current context that does not apply and it's totally okay to launch web series and movies around the time of IPL.”

“If you look at last year, the April and May months in terms of the box office were the strongest ever historically in terms of the month, despite the IPL being there last year. So, in that way, IPL has got no impact whatsoever in terms of other content consumption trends because the audience in that way is phenomenally large. The only negative impact could be seen around the play-offs in the final matches,” Taurani added. 

He went on to add, “IPL nowadays is like a two-month franchise and one can definitely move in and move out watching different pieces of content and also watch IPL together. I don't foresee that there could be any kind of delay in the new launches by platforms because of IPL. There could be other reasons like budget constraints and all.”

Shashank Srivastava

Striking a similar tone, Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director – Sales and Marketing at Maruti Suzuki, said that the biggest flex of OTT is entertainment at your convenience and platforms, irrespective of whichever competitor is telecasting IPL, should continue to drive their objectives of providing content for varied audiences across genres. 

“While IPL and sports attract more viewers during the match schedule, there is a constant need for all the platforms to keep evolving their content library to cater to a larger set of audience for their target audience, continue to keep the momentum of subscriber base and maintain active consumer base on their ecosystem,” he added.

Sahil Shah

Sahil Shah, President - Digital Experience, Dentsu Creative India, also believes that OTT platforms should release content during IPL but it should be timed better.

"IPL is just a part of the watch time in the whole day/weekend. There is enough and more room for other content to be accepted as content consumption is really high and shifting swiftly from TV to digital too. Of course, it needs to be timed better so that it doesn’t coincide with any big match. But otherwise, it is all good to release content," he added.

Launching anything during IPL won’t work well for platforms

Rammohan Sundaram

On the contrary, Rammohan Sundaram, President – Integrated Media, DDB Mudra Group, believes that IPL is grosser and launching anything during this period of two months will not work well for anyone so they should just continue to do what they do without launching anything new. 

“You cannot take on IPL and budgets have already been deployed, which does not augur well for any new shows to be launched given there will be little or no money on the table to invest in any new shows,” he added.

Anita Nayyar

Speaking along similar lines, Anita Nayyar, COO, Media, Branding and Communications at Patanjali Ayurved, said that it has always been a debate if OTT platforms should release new content during IPL.

“Many times channels have launched new content catering to non-IPL viewers. However, it may be advisable to launch especially impactful content post-IPL, given that IPL itself is an impactful property and will attract millions of eyeballs more so with its streaming through JioCinema,” she added.

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