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Cricket timings boost digital

News, 11 March 2015

NEW DELHI: Digital advertising has been boosted by the timings of matches in the current ICC Cricket World Cup as Indian fans unable to watch on TV in mornings and working hours have turned to websites, apps and social media to follow the action.

Brands big and small are accordingly investing greater amounts in digital which also has the advantage of being rather cheaper than television.

A spokesperson for broadcaster Star India told the Economic Times that "revenues from digital will be significant", with one fifth of the advertisers on its online platforms focused exclusively on digital.

This was echoed by Praseed Prasad, national director for digital trading at media agency GroupM India, who reported that clients were looking "very seriously" at digital channels.

"[Motorcycle manufacturer] Hero, for instance, has bet heavily on digital and it is really doing well for the brand," he said.

As one of Star India's co-presenting sponsors of the World Cup 2015, Hero is actually the lead sponsor in digital with a range of branding and inventory in terms of video, logos, banner ads and special sections such as replay and match insights.

"The medium has seen exponential growth in terms of traffic," a Hero spokesman said. "This association is a strategic move, owing to a perceptible shift in viewership patterns in favour of digital medium."

Evidence of that shift came in the viewing figures for last month's opening match between India and Pakistan: 288m TV viewers tuned in to watch India win, while more than 25m watched on Star's digital platforms, the highest in the world for a single game.

As well as starsports.com, which shows live telecast of games, the broadcaster also launched Hotstar, an on-demand video platform, just before the tournament started and is expected to earn additional revenue of about Rs 20 crore from advertising on these two platforms.

According to Star India COO Sanjay Gupta, digital is a five-year game plan. "We do not expect to make big money for our digital properties from day one" he told the Financial Express.

"With the launch of Hotstar and other services online we are preparing for the future," he said.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff