The 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is going to start today. The two-month thrilling experience is going to start with a cricket face-off between the Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
This will be the first time when the cricket league will be streamed on JioCinema, Viacom18’s OTT platform. The platform acquired the digital rights of the Indian Premier League for a massive amount of Rs 23,758 crore last year.
The company has announced that IPL 2023, similar to WPL 2023, will be available for free on JioCinema. It may be a strategic move by the company to get more engagement and increase the viewership of the platform. However, the media analysts believe offering free access to IPL could negatively impact not Viacom18 but also the OTT sector in the country.
Where to watch IPL 2023
The broadcasting and streaming rights for IPL are shared between Disney Star and Viacom18 for 5 years (from 2023 to 2027). However, the recent announcement about IPL 2023 being available for free has prompted Star to make 12 key matches (including playoffs) available on Star Utsav, a free-to-air (FTA) channel. This season, IPL fans have multiple options to catch the live action from the comfort of their homes.
Details about IPL 2023
IPL fans are in for a treat this season with this free streaming in 4K Resolution (Ultra HD) for free in 12 languages, including English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, and Bhojpuri.
In addition to this, JioCinema is also offering a unique multi-cam feature this season to enhance the viewing experience for fans. It allows viewers to switch between multiple camera angles and get a more immersive experience while watching the matches.
Moreover, Star acquired the five-year TV rights for IPL at a staggering cost of Rs 23,575 crore, but it may face challenges in recovering this investment due to the slowdown in television advertising and the shift of advertising dollars to digital platforms.
The streaming platform has launched an aggressive ad campaign featuring MS Dhoni ahead of IPL 2023. It highlights the benefits of streaming a match over watching it on television. The platform is expected to attract more than 500 million digital viewers for IPL 2023, a selling point to advertisers. This is a higher estimate than the viewership attracted by Hotstar.
As per a report by Media Partners Asia, JioCinema is expected to capture 60% of IPL 2023’s total ad sales, with digital ad revenue surpassing TV ad revenue for the first time. This indicates a growing trend toward digital advertising in India, which could significantly impact the television industry’s revenue streams. It remains to be seen how Star and other broadcasters will adapt to this changing landscape and find new ways to monetize their content.