IPL Advertising 2024 : TV vs Digital

History Of Advertisement In India

Nail-biting hits, high octane drama and intra-team rivalry, this glitzy sporting event has it all. Yes we are talking of glamour and sports, and only one event comes to our attention, that’s IPL and what a smashing IPL matches we’ve had so far. 

The excitement around IPL lies in the beauty of the shots, the IPL bugle (which has become an echoic memory) and the perfect swing between family entertainment and serious sports. Going down the memory lane to 2008, when IPL was conceptualised, it was a heady mix of Bollywood entertainment and India’s favourite sport. Remember, the over-the-top IPL ad ‘Manoranjan Ka Baap’, from then IPL started blossoming as a full-fledged drama worthy of its entertainment-inclined audiences. 

Well, it would be blasphemous to speak of IPL and not mention brands and advertisers who prepare hard to tap on the IPL shenanigans. However, no matter how alluring IPL advertising may look, it too requires proper planning. The tug-of-war between TV and digital is real, but why worry when we are here to help you make a sound decision. 

Keep reading our blog to know everything about IPL advertising on TV Vs Digital and make the best of this opportunity. 

TV Viewership in India

Remember, when Netflix announced that they would start online streaming and the iPhone first saw the light of the day. Since then, questions and headlines like ‘Is TV dead?’ have arised from every industry expert and report. The death of television has been predicted as imminent, however in reality, even years later, we are at a premature stage to make such a statement. The majority of TV viewing even in 2023 is still dominated by linear TV, and we can say that TV is here to stay. 

Speaking about the revolution of TV, it has undergone a massive transformation from cable to DTH to sports broadcasting and global content. GroupM South Asia CEO Prasanth Kumar said, “Many new capabilities exist for TV advertisers in the coming years. India is set to become the third largest TV market in the next three years.” (Source: E4M)

GroupM estimates that with about 210 TV households, India’s television penetration stands by around 70% and so there is still enough room for growth. 

However, television ad spending in India is estimated to grow at a comparatively slower rate than before because of immense competition from digital giants. It is expected to grow at a CAGR 11.8% from 2023 to 2027 which denotes that TV still stands stronger. This percentage is much higher than the global average of 1.1% and APAC’s 3.7%. As per this data, India is expected to be the 3rd largest TV advertising market by 2024. 

Factors That Enables the Growth of TV 

The biggest reason because of which TV still rules the market is the fact that it lends itself to family and co-viewing with genres like sports that are made for TV. Key genres like movies and sports in particular, are produced and broadcasted for the large screen. The viewing experience significantly gets enhanced in a television as compared to a smartphone screen. 

Furthermore, facts like family and appointment viewing can be experienced to its best only on TV. Family is and will remain an important part of the social fabric of India, and the 97% of TV households (being single TV), proves credibility to the importance of family viewing. Here are a few reasons why TV will keep growing in India:

1. Access to affordable TV sets: The focus of the government on increasing electricity uptime and household electrification along with policies like pro-manufacturing policy supports like Make in India, PLI schemes are major drivers of TV sets penetration among rural households. In fact, even consumer goods companies are building a deeper and better retail presence in rural areas in order to captalise on this rural opportunity. 

2. TV continues to be quite affordable: The starting price for Pay TV- Cable and DTH- is INR153 (Inclusive of all taxes) which gives access to 200 FTA channels. (Source: KPMG report) The TV channels’ price in India is amongst the lowest in the world, as compared to traditional TV in other countries. 

3. Headroom for increase in TV penetration: When compared to other developed markets and Southeast Asian economies, there’s almost 61% TV penetration among rural households in India and 87% among urban households. This underlines that there is still a strong headroom for growth in TV penetration in India. 

4. Volume of content available on TV: The amount of content that TV provides including regional language content, is the highest among entertainment media 

Original TV content in Hindi and other regional languages are produced on a far larger scale than is done by any OTT platforms. This has a significant impact on how important TV is as a media outlet. The variety of languages also makes sure that the Indian TV sector is profitable worldwide. Additionally, regional language content is under-indexed (advertising revenue contribution to consumption contribution) and is thus anticipated to witness robust development in the future, providing an impetus for growth in content consumption on TV.

Sports Consumption on TV –What’s in it for the Advertisers?

There is a constant increase in ratings of sports events which acts as a catalyst for brands to continue investing heavily in sports advertising on TV, in order to reach out to wide audiences across socio-economic classes. Talking about socio-economic classes, the viewership of sports is largely based with NCCS AB households who contribute to 60% of the latest seasons of IPL, ISL and PKL. The rest of the viewership comes from NCCS CDE. 

This major section of affluent audience is extremely attractive to brands, given the purchasing power of this populace. On that note, it is equally important for mass-based brands to reach the lower NCCS, and IPL as a product, delivers on that promise. 

As per KPMG report ‘Sports Broadcasting on TV a Match Made in Heaven’, the overall TV sports market was expected at INR 7,050 Cr in FY21, and the same is expected to reach INR 9,830 Cr in FY26. This means that the CAGR is steadily growing at 7%. 

Given the advantage that sports as a genre enjoys over other genres, as described above, the increase of TV ad revenue for sports is anticipated to be higher than the growth of the entire TV market. The rise in TV HH penetration, upselling of packs (which include sports channels), and organic growth in Pay TV are projected to be the main drivers of subscription revenues for sports.

The audience for IPL 2022 was 400 million, which is 80% more viewers than the audience for KBC, Bigg Boss, The Kapil Sharma Show, Khatron Ke Khiladi, and Shark Tank put together. In terms of viewing time compared to the influence GEC properties have on TV, marquee athletic events also do better. Advertisers believe that impact properties such as the Indian Premier League help advertisers build better consumer connect and help them gain the trust of the consumer.

Since its inception, the tournament has only gained traction and increased its audience base. The league has now become a crucial event for viewers and advertisers alike, which is why it sees a massive advertising spend every year.

The tournament has provided brands a lucrative opportunity of reaching an engaged and massive set of audience, which is a gold mine for brands looking to target a national audience.

IPL keeps the audience glued to their TV sets throughout the tournament, and with its live TV broadcasting rights bagged by Star Sports again the audience reach will widen even more. 

With increasing viewership, brands and marketers are actively putting their money in the series. An analysis of the 2022 IPL season shows STAR earned Rs 58.1 crore per match from advertisements.

What’s more interesting about IPL is the entertainment factor associated with the sporting event. IPL since the very beginning was conceived as a family entertainer, for instance take the taglines for IPL, from ‘Manoranjan Ka Baap’ to ‘Keep Calm Kanna’ everything around the tournament is refreshing, attractive and dazzling. IPL has everything that an audience needs for entertainment, be it music, celebrity faces or the innumerable ads tapping on to the IPL theme. 

Sporting vs. GEC properties – A Big Difference in Reach and Time Spent 

NCCS AB contributes to TV viewership for IPL

In India, sports is widely consumed across all socio-economic groups, with popular leagues gaining great popularity among NCCS AB households. A bigger percentage of viewers from the most affluent NCCS AB households watch sports properties, which has increased the overall TV reach. (17% rise in 2022 vs. 2019).

TV is relevant for all types of advertisers with TG across NCCS classes

Advertisers and brands both traditional and startup/new-age based, can make the best use of IPL advertising. Traditional companies like FMCG can reach a mix of urban and rural users thanks to a larger dispersion of consumption across NCCS (including CDE as well). To effectively reach their TG across age groups, new age brands (including consumer, fintech, and commerce) use athletic properties like the IPL, and sports on TV is a crucial property in their brand-building wheel.

Reach out to regional audience

The aforementioned data emphasises the audience’s desire for sports consumption in their native language, which results in great engagement with the content. Additionally, this gives advertisers the chance to strengthen or expand their brand’s presence across India.

This has a significant impact on how important TV is as a media outlet. The variety of languages also guarantees the survival of the Indian TV market.

Additionally, regional language content available on TV is much higher than any other entertainment media and is therefore projected to have significant development in the future, spurring an increase in TV content consumption.

Extremely High Reach

Sports is designed and produced for television, which helps explain why TV is the most popular venue for watching sports. On the big TV, the camera settings and production values give spectators a far better viewing experience. Despite the explosive expansion of OTT sports streaming, TV broadcasting still has a much wider audience than OTT.

Each of the 74 matches that made up the 2022 edition lasted 360 minutes and were spread out across 65 days. The 2022 episode received 330 minutes viewing time, reaching a wide range of NCCS and age groups.

IPL: More Than Just a Sporting Event

The fact that TV is so conducive to family viewing and co-viewing of particular genres, like sports which is said to be made for TV, contributes to its dominance. Important content genres—in particular, movies and sports—are generated on the big screen, where the viewing experience is vastly improved over that of a smartphone. 

Moreover, when it comes to IPL it has turned out to be more than just a sporting event. IPL is considered as an event which has so much entertainment for the audience. The reason for this image of IPL is because of the involvement of Bollywood stars in the teams that makes even non-sports lovers to watch this tournament.

IPL Advertising 2024 for Brands

When IPL was started in 2008, it was mostly a big brands’ battleground. Ads during IPL series meant that the ad would be shown on a nationwide scale, which hence, required brands to have a big budget. Also, the diversity in brand categories advertising in IPL today is much more than the initial days of IPL. One can easily see a stark change in the categories and also the type of brands that advertise in IPL now.

Back then, the ad spends on IPL included a lot of cellular operators and automobile brands. Back in 2008, brands like Vodafone, Nokia, Volkswagen, were the major players in the IPL ad market, and for a long time they maintained their top position. 

However, the proportion of above mentioned categories is slowly reducing and is being overshadowed by categories like e-commerce, online gaming, FMCG and BFSI (Banking, Financial services and Insurance), which is witnessing a spike over the last 2 years. 

The media spend on television, that is Star Sports during IPL 2022 mostly came from automotive, E-commerce and FMCG. This proportion is skyrocketing with new players coming into the IPL ad world like Fintech and fantasy games. 

Examples of Brands Who Have Advertised on TV in IPL

Currently, automotive is less than 10% and FMCG shares the same percentage. BFSI has drastically increased and is at 20%, all thanks to the growth in digital payments and of course, the popularity of PayTM and GPay. (Source: Business Today)

As per Nitin Bawankule the head of ad sales, Star & Disney India, ‘IPL is witnessing growing interest from advertisers and brands across various categories among which are e-commerce, edutech, fintech, fashion, healthcare, food and grocery delivery.’ (Source: Exchange4Media)

According to data by TAM AdEx, there was a 57% increase in ads for women-centric categories in IPL 13 in comparison to IPL 12. As per the data, the 6 advertisers in the women-centric category were HUL, Titan Company, ITC, BSH Home Appliances, Procter & Gamble Home Products & Reckitt Benckiser India. 

The only two women-centric products that were common in IPL 12 and 13 were washing liquid or powder and dishwasher. The ad volumes for dishwashers surged by 2 times and washing liquid and powder by 3.7 times in IPL 13 in comparison to IPL 12. 

Benefits of Advertising On TV in IPL

It’s no secret that IPL has boosted a lot of brands like, MPL, CRED, Dream11 which have turned out to be household names due to creative IPL ads. Here are a few examples of industries which leveraged on the viewership of IPL:

Due to the tremendous traction among NCCS AB homes and pan India viewing, IPL has received advertisement traction from B2C unicorns (many of whom are digital first firms) as well. More than 75% of B2C unicorns have advertised over many seasons. In comparison to other media platforms, TV offers the most reach at the lowest cost per impression, making it a crucial platform for brands that prioritise going digital. 

Sports has been one of the major genres of TV that digital businesses have utilised to drive downloads, increase recall, and accomplish important brand-building goals. Due to the strong recall of TV advertisements, particularly those on impact sports properties, it has also been seen that TV advertisements improve the performance of campaigns on other media platforms.

Digital Viewership in India

According to data compiled by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the number of internet users in India increased by 4.3% year over year in CY2021 to 829.3 million. The two years of consistent double-digit growth was despite the rising entry-level smartphone prices that slowed the conversion of 2G to 4G.

According to Trai data, the total number of internet users decreased slightly (0.5%) to 824.89 million between January and March 2022. The number of wireless internet users essentially stayed the same between the end of December 2021 (802.72 million) and the end of June 2022. (808.13 million).

According to a survey by Ormax Media, the top six metropolises in the nation account for only 10% of the total OTT viewership base but for 33% of all paid subscriptions in India. Small towns and rural areas in India accounted for a major portion of the 20% year-over-year growth, thus OTT players will have to rely on these areas for the next stage of growth.

423.8 million users make up the OTT audience base, estimates the Ormax OTT Audience Sizing Report 2022. This results in a penetration of 30%, meaning that three out of ten Indians watched internet movies at least once over the course of the previous month, it was stated.

In India, there are currently 119 million paid OTT subscriptions that are active, and there are 49 million paying subscribers to video on demand (SVOD) services. This translates to 2.4 subscriptions on average for each paying audience member. Males make up over 65% of these paid subscribers. There are more than 8.5 million active paid subscribers in just Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru.

Since 2018, India’s OTT audience universe has expanded quickly, with the pandemic year of 2020 providing a boost. The 20% increase in viewership base has largely come from rural and small towns in India. With an OTT penetration rate of more than 79%, the metro cities have surpassed saturation. For the next stage of expansion, platforms will have to rely on the smaller markets.

Why Digital Advertising?

Reach: Apart from estimating 500 Mn viewers on their app, JioCinema is also expecting to tap into young audiences. Taking into consideration that IPL streaming on JioCinema is going to be free, it will also be a great opportunity to reach Tier 2 & 3 cities.

Targeting Options: One of the major advantages that JioCinema is offering is the ability to target the audience during a live match. This is something unheard of for other platforms. JioCinema which has an edge when it comes to technical expertise and high reach is offering a number of audiences targeting filters to select their audience. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.

Languages: Apart from live sports, JioCinema will also offer regional language commentary in 11 languages, a hype mode feature, and an insightful panel discussion with fresh and talented cricketers. The result is a highly engaged user.

Cost-effective: Sports advertising is widely popular for being a high-impact property. For years, sports advertising has meant television advertising where although reach is high, advertising packages have been exorbitantly high-priced. JioCinema is disrupting this practice by offering cost-effective advertising packages. Now advertisers have more power in their hands to decide where and how to advertise.

IPL 2024 on JioCinema

This year, Viacom18 bagged the digital broadcasting rights for the Indian Premier League. This means that Star India channels in the case of TV and JioCinema in terms of digital have the official rights to broadcast and stream live IPL matches. 

In the media rights auction held on June 12 and June 13, Viacom18 won the digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2023–27 cycle for a price of Rs 20,500 crore. Hence, the e-auction of TATA IPL Auction 2023 was also streamed online on Jio Cinema. 

The network overpaid for the TV rights with a 30% premium over the basic price of Rs 18,130 crore, according to experts. The broadcast rights were sold to Disney Star for Rs 23,575 crore.

The unexpected happened this year with JioCinema bagging the digital media rights for TATA IPL 2024. In fact, for the first time in the history of IPL, the amount of digital media rights exceeded TV rights. After the massive success of FIFA World Cup 2023, JioCinema has made IPL watching free for all its users and is expecting a viewership of 500 Mn. 

Apart from this, here’s what’s new for viewers:

Hype Mode: Be ready to get a world class experience with a never seen before feature on OTT that is the Hype Mode. The Hype Mode, which allowed users to toggle between different camera perspectives and also threw up quick game insights, was a huge hit during FIFA 2023 as well. This is a one of a kind feature that will enhance the online streaming experience for the users. 

Pre & Post Match: With JioCinema expect fresh and insightful perspectives from popular cricketers, like Chris Gayle and Suresh Raina. 

IPL Advertising on CTV – What’s in it for Advertisers

In today’s time, home entertainment is growing to a totally new level, with connected TVs ushering in the next big revolution. In the West CTVs have already grown significantly and in India it’s witnessing an upward curve, with 12-14 Mn monthly active users. Projections are expected that by 2025 CTVs will hit 40 Mn, which signals a high CTV adoption in India. 

With the popularity of OTT apps and content on platforms like Netflix, Prime, and Voot increasing, the trend of CTV is also growing exponentially. However, IPL brought about a whole new game when it came to sports and CTV viewing. 

It won’t be wrong to say that, OTT player Disney+Hotstar witnessed unmatched growth and engagement because of the live streaming of the Indian Premier League. The reason behind their popularity and growth was not just because of the live streaming of matches but the series of industry first ad solutions and an array of targeting options. The ad options include long form ad support like non-skippable ads up to 60 secs, mid-rolls, and even robust tracking solutions for CTV campaigns. 

While CTV advertising is steadily growing, the basic challenges that advertisers are facing is the difficulty to determine the unique reach of the campaigns, especially since CTV is a shared viewing platform. Unlike mobile, CTV devices are common across the household members, and the accuracy of native measurement solutions of any platform is limited to reaching the intended target audience of the brand. 

What JioCinema is Offering New for CTV?

One of the biggest advantages that made advertisers and brands flock towards digital advertising is the ability to better targeting and measurement of campaigns. The basic parametre on which brands secured ad spaces on OTT platforms is impressions or CPI. The same applied for CTV advertising as well, however JioCinema is changing the advertising course for brands by introducing ‘Spot Buy’

In simple terms, brands can now book spots during the live streaming of IPL as to when and at which time their ad will be shown. This will ensure that advertisers get the maximum reach and impact on their ads 

Hence, with JioCinema bagging the digital pie we could see a major shift from mobile to CTV, especially when it comes to Video-On-Demand. Audiences will easily be streaming content through connected devices and connected TV. This shift in viewership will not only affect the audience but also add a newer touchpoint for advertisers. Thus, for brands it becomes increasingly important to measure the performance and brand building. 

How does TV & Digital Viewership Differ? 

The nature of television and digital viewership differs in several key ways:

1. Reach

Television has a broad reach, but digital viewership can be more targeted, as viewers can access content from anywhere, at any time. Moreover, while television focuses on mass reach, digital can be used to reach out to premium audiences. 

2. Engagement

Television is often a passive form of media, while digital viewership often involves active engagement, such as commenting, sharing, and liking.

3. Interactivity

Television is typically a one-way form of communication, while digital viewership often includes interactive elements, such as live chats, polls, and quizzes.

4. Data and analytics

Television viewership is typically measured through ratings, while digital viewership provides more detailed data and analytics, including viewer demographics, location, and behavior.

5. Ad format

Television advertising is often limited to 30-second spots, while digital viewership provides a range of ad formats, including display ads, video ads, sponsored content, and influencer marketing.

6. Cost

Television advertising is often more expensive than digital advertising, due to the broader reach and limited ad inventory.

7. On-demand content

Television programming is typically scheduled, while digital viewership provides on-demand access to a vast library of content.

IPL Advertising 2024: TV or Digital- Which is better?

TV advertising has a broader reach and is often seen by a larger, more diverse audience. It is a mass media platform that has the potential to reach millions of people in one broadcast. On the other hand, digital advertising provides the opportunity to target specific audience segments more precisely and build frequency through repeated exposures. 

This means that businesses can reach their target audience with greater precision, but they may not reach as many people as they would through a TV campaign. In summary, TV advertising focuses on reach while digital advertising focuses on frequency.

In the aforementioned flowchart, we have categorized a brand’s journey into deciding whether it should go for television advertising or digital advertising. 

For instance, if X brand is launching a new product it’s objective is brand awareness, impact and reach. Hence, the perfect platform to launch the new product and to advertise will be TV, considering its mass appeal and co-viewing nature. 

If the same brand is looking to advertise for an established product the objective would probably be reach and frequency. However, if the brand’s objective is just frequency the accurate platform for advertising would be digital. This is because digital gives the advertiser an opportunity for better targeting and tracking. In case of reach, the brand must take into account if it is facing any constraints like gender, geography, income, etc. If the brand is facing such constraints it should go for digital (due to better targeting options) and if not it should go for TV (due to wide appeal). 

Why Not go for Both TV and Digital?

The shifting landscape of TV is creating an interesting dilemma amongst advertisers. However, TV still remains an important part of a brand’s advertising and marketing landscape. So while there’s a constant fight between TV and digital, a brand can use a blended strategy of both digital and TV ads. 

While TV can be used for impact and awareness, digital can be used effectively for frequency and accurate targeting. For instance, if you are a new brand you can advertise on IPL on Star Sports to create impact and awareness amongst audiences. At the same time, ads on JioCinema can help your brand reach the correct audience.  

In fact, the recall rate of TV advertisements is still the highest at 38%, reveals Axis My India CSI survey. Hence, if your advertising budget for IPL 2024 can fit both Star Sports and JioCinema then you should definitely use both as per your advertising requirements. 

Is TV for Premium Audiences and Digital for Masses?

When it comes to advertising it is widely believed that television is for the masses while digital is for the premium audience. However, we can now say that the tables have turned with JioCinema coming into play and making IPL viewing free for users. According to Hindustan Times as of 2022, the total number of internet users were 829 Mn, and TV viewers were 900 Mn. This data proves that audiences on TV and digital are on a neck to neck level. 

In fact, as per our view the scenario might change for IPL Advertising 2024 and the reason is not just the free viewing nature of JioCinema but the price audiences have to pay for watching IPL on TV. Currently, anyone with a smartphone and internet can watch IPL 2024 without any extra subscription charges, which is why JioCinema is aiming for a viewership of 500 Mn. 

However, television audiences have to pay extra charges to view Star Sports as it’s not a FTA channel, which means not everyone with a TV set can watch IPL on Star Sports. Nevertheless, Star Sports too is aiming for 500 Mn viewership for IPL 2024. The reason behind this being the fact that most Indian families prefer watching sports on TV. 

When it comes to brands, the decision of whether to advertise on TV or digital completely depends on the objective. Even after the dominance of digital the fact that advertisers still vouch for TV ads is the impact of the big screen and trust that audiences have on Television as a medium. While digital on the other hand, can be utilised for frequency and reaching out to your target audience.

We are of the opinion that, this year IPL will change the nature of viewership, with digital being for the masses and TV aiming at premium audiences. 

The tussle between TV and digital will be a never-ending one, experts are of the opinion that both will be growing simultaneously for the coming years. So whether it be Star Sports or JioCinema one thing we are absolutely certain about is that IPL 2024 might break all past records and be one of the biggest sporting events. Probably India is all set to have its own version of Super Bowl.

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Shrobana Rakshit

A passionate writer and feminist, who believes in the power of words to challenge social norms, break barriers and inspire change. With scattered thoughts on window panes I'm in constant need of coffee and fresh nutrition for my brain (I'm a book-butterfly indeed). When I ain't lost in the world of words, I find solace in the art of dance, where movement becomes my muse.

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