NEW DELHI: The viewing figures claimed during the just-finished India Premier League by Hotstar, the live streaming platform owned by Star India, signal a significant shift in the media habits of sports fans.

“I believe that IPL XI has proved to be an inflection point for mobile as a platform becoming mainstream,” said Ajit Mohan, chief executive, Hotstar.

“The viewership numbers on Hotstar are a testimony that digital can be scaled like a mass media platform television,” he said in remarks reported by Mint.

Over the course of IPL 11, a total of 202 million viewers logged onto Hotstar to watch games, a 55.3% jump from the 130 million who used the platform last year.

The final, in which the Chennai Super Kings beat Sunrisers Hyderabad, saw a record 10.3 million viewers for a single game.

“Throughout the tournament we kept setting new records,” said Mohan, who paid tribute to technology partner Akamai Technologies which designed “a platform that delivers content seamlessly while the traffic surged”.

Aside from technical proficiency, Hotstar also offered a range of features designed to enhance the viewing experience, including Watch N Play in which viewers were invited to predict the outcome of the bowler’s next delivery with the possibility of winning prizes, while virtual reality provided immersive on-field action and a special feed allowed viewers to post emojis while watching the match.

“I believe social TV and gaming, which keep the viewer engaged, is the way forward for sports content online,” said Mohan.

“We believe marketers embraced us because we introduced propositions that went beyond plan vanilla video ads,” he added.

“Whether through participation in the Watch N Play game or new ad formats like carousel video ads, we were able to help them bring together their brand and performance objectives that have traditionally been held back in silos.”

If Mohan was understandably effusive, Sulina Menon, chief client officer at media agency OMD India, was more cautious.

“Live streaming of cricket is an exciting area,” she acknowledged, adding: “While live streaming of sports can be scaled, we are far away from matching what television can offer in India.”

Sourced from Mint; additional content by WARC staff