Experts Speak: IPL 2020 AdSpends to see TV-digital go hand in hand

IPL 2020

As the D Day for IPL 2020 match nears, Social Samosa talks to a cross-section of industry leaders to understand the advertiser sentiments and surfacing trends around IPL 2020 AdSpends.

To set a context, in IPL 12, according to a Duff and Phelps’ report – the overall value of the IPL ecosystem increased by nearly 13.5% in INR terms. The value of the IPL ecosystem was approximately US$ 6.8 billion (₹ 47,500 crores) in 2019, up from US$ 6.3 billion (₹ 41,800 crores) in 2018. The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to kickstart on March 29 and Social Samosa attempts to understand IPL 2020 AdSpends trends.  

“Sport used to be largely male-dominated in viewership but IPL managed to change that. The tournament made its viewership a lot more family inclusive. I can’t think of any other Indian TV property which is so universal and cuts across age groups, genders, and geographies,” shares Ashish Bhasin, CEO APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network

AdSpends: Projections & Big Spenders

According to media reports, IPL 2019 is believed to have fetched the official broadcaster Star India ad revenues of more than INR 2,000 crore, slightly more than Rs 1800-2,000 crore in 2018 – a jump of 20%.  Mohit Joshi, Managing  Director at Havas Media Group suggested that this time Star Sports should generate Rs. 2900-3000 Cr through ad sales.

Although on the back of an economic slowdown and New Tariff Order by TRAI in 2019 threw a challenging feat for the advertising sector; the returns were however paid off with the onset of IPL, World Cup T20 and Parliamentary elections.

“I estimate the growth of IPL to be around 10-12% this year,” Ashish Bhasin.

Further sharing a glimpse of the TV and digital spends breakdown during IPL, Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect India projects that while the overall ad spends should be close to Rs. 3000 – 3300 Cr with TV being around 2300 – 2500 Cr and digital should stand at Rs. 800-1000 Cr.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Noronha, Senior Manager – Media, Gozoop and Rikki Agrawal, Co-founder, Chief Business & Operating Officer at Blink Digital both agree that digital will get a thump of 30% of the media spends by marketers owing to the strategic increase in the IPL viewership. Noronha estimates a 35 to 40% increase from the last year.

Erstwhile, Sujay Kar– Group Director and Lead – Commerce, VMLY&R SEA, and India think that television spends might not see an extremely significant jump as marketers might be looking for the targeted solutions that mobile advertising provides. He further added, “Digital is expected to see the highest growth as the top Media platform, as Mobile content consumption for Sports and Entertainment is on a rise”.

IPL is now among the top 10 sporting leagues in the world, as per Duff and Phelps. Several brands attempt to associate themselves with the franchisee or IPL through sponsorship deals including jersey sponsorship, team sponsorship, in-stadia, on-air, off-air among others.

The big spenders list for this year includes Telecom, FMCG and Mobile handsets on the top of the table followed by automobile, Gaming, E-Commerce, BFSI, Fantasy Cricket, food delivery apps. While brands like Amazon, Flipkart, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, PhonePe, Coca Cola, Byju’s and Dream 11.

Experts also expect new Automakers like MG Motors, Kia to join the race.

Effective Media Vehicle

As per BARC India viewership data shared by broadcast rights holder Star India, a whopping 462 mn viewers watched the 12th edition of the league on Star network channels. The reach of the tournament was up 12% compared to the previous season and was Star aired in eight languages and across 24 channels.

Hotstar recorded a reach of over 300 mn viewers, with a peak concurrency of 18.6 mn viewers for the final match between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

“For those 40 days, it is very hard for any other programming to compete with at the same time slot as the IPL because of its impact. It has almost become a part of our culture,” asserted Bhasin while he stated that digital and television have to go hand in hand in terms of spends because a consumer is watching a screen and he is not interested in knowing what the delivery mechanism to that screen is.

Also Read: M & A Handbook: Experts share prevailing Advertising trends

He added, “ground activities and OOH are equally important at times like this. depending upon the product and the category, using various media and giving a consistent message across them is going to be fruitful for brands”.

Joshi is of the view that while TV always gives more reach & works best for mass brands, niche brands can target their TG through OTT/digital platforms like Hotstar effectively.  Agrawal also adds Twitter for conversation and PR. 

“Surprisingly, this year, new emerging ad channels like Sharechat (the Indic language-based social network) has released a Cricket-special brand integration. Advertisers who have their audience present in Tier II and Tier III cities would consider leveraging this medium,” Noronho explains.

Over the years we have seen a shift in viewership of IPL. If you see the top 30 towns, the viewership on digital is comparable to that of TV, if not more. “For brands who want a presence in these towns only digital can be more efficient as it would be cheaper in comparison to TV. But for brands looking to expand their reach TV still might be a more viable option,” noticed Rubeena.

IPL 2020: Trends & Innovations

Sharing his two cents on the direction to be followed to adapt to changing consumer behavior, Bhasin asserted that it’s a no-brainer that online engagement is going to rise. However, brands that will gain the most out of the IPL are those who have a holistic communication around it.

Star Sports has arranged for a strategic simulcast across many prime time channels. Joshi observed, “It has launched a regional sports channel to give regional flavor to local audiences, innovation in terms of match scheduling strategy – big matches on weekends. Super Sunday matches will be telecasted on movie channels and other regional channels to reach a mass audience”.

The 3V’s are expected to grow bigger this year (i.e. Voice, video, and vernacular) and, together, they should be able to provide a huge impetus to the ad industry, according to Noronha. For the IPL, another interesting trend is the ratio of budget allocation.

She believes it is moving to approx. 66:33 between TV and digital, as many brands are investing higher budgets towards digital as compared to last year 

With regard to innovations, brands are focusing on personalization of content and communication. Rather than regular static ads and videos, brands should leverage – highly interactive ads around Prediction Polls, Social Feeds, Watch N Win’ formats, coupons, and mini-games, which result in a higher engagement rate.

According to Agrawal, real-time integration and Moment Marketing will be the biggest trends to look for.

Expert Advice

  • Focus on the scheduling of the campaign for maximum impact
  • Instead of paying a heavy premium on targeting, be conscious of the amount of spillage and then plan efficiently. Even small brands can leverage IPL with smart planning
  • Leverage segmented targeting opportunities that are available on mobile
  • Look at generating incremental impact and profitability from campaigns. This will help balance AdSpend strategy for the 2nd half of the year when economy recovers & speculations regarding business woes reduce. 
  • Use Regional Advertising and build geographic and language layers to the Ad distribution
  • Indulge in Moment Marketing; listen to ongoing conversations to adapt and edit on the fly. Increase reach, limit frequency, reduce duplication and learn & optimize on the go
  • Design content for small screens

Bhasin’s all-time favorite IPL campaign is Airtel’s ‘Har Ek Friend Zaruri Hota Hai’, where it sort of changed the culture in some ways establishing that telecommunications is all about bringing people together. “Put a consistent message to the consumers, holistically. Don’t get tied up with one medium and make sure that you supplement your television and digital activity along with other activities,” Bhasin concludes.


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