The India Brand Summit, held on November 28, 2023, at The Lalit Mumbai, marked a pivotal moment in the world of sports broadcasting and digital advertising. Ajit Varghese, the Head of Network Ad Sales at Disney Star, engaged in an enlightening fireside chat with Anil NM Wanvari, shedding light on Disney Star’s groundbreaking achievements during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
The summit was abuzz with Varghese’s revelation of the World Cup’s historic viewership figures, boasting over 500 million TV viewers and an impressive 295 million streaming reach. This milestone positioned the event as one of the most successful ICC Cricket World Cups to date. Varghese emphasized their commitment to enhancing viewer experience and ROI discussions, highlighting the introduction of MaxView. This innovative technology, a first in cricket streaming history, allowed fans to view games in a unique 9×14 portrait mode, attracting nearly 30% of viewers during the tournament.
Varghese also touched upon the pioneering self-serve platform for live cricket on Disney+ Hotstar. This platform revolutionized cricket advertising by enabling direct booking, attracting 150+ new advertisers and numerous agencies. The platform’s ability to handle 59 million concurrent viewers during the final match was a testament to its robust technology, ensuring seamless ad insertion and an uninterrupted viewer experience.
The discussion also delved into the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), with Varghese highlighting its rapid ascent as India’s second-largest sport and its free availability on mobile, aiming to widen Kabaddi’s reach. He noted the 10x growth in player payments and the significant return on advertiser value, predicting that PKL would surpass major reality shows in popularity.
Varghese addressed the coexistence of TV and OTT audiences, observing that digital streaming’s rise had not dampened TV viewership. He stressed the importance of transparency in advertising metrics, underscoring sports marketing’s effectiveness for profitability and campaign success.
The talk concluded with insights into the growth of Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) and the diversification of content consumption patterns, debunking the myth that social media platforms dominate user attention. Varghese’s vision for India’s advertising market was optimistic, foreseeing substantial growth in line with the country’s economic and population expansion.
In essence, the India Brand Summit 2023 not only celebrated the triumphs of Disney Star in sports broadcasting but also provided valuable lessons and foresights for the future of advertising and content consumption in India.