Indian Premier League (IPL) and Digital Media

While earlier seasons of IPL have been hot favorite of traditional media (primarily television) but this time, it definitely seems to be attracting mega bucks for digital medium too.  Google has announced the list of sponsors now for its first main sports event which will be streamed live on YouTube.  Royal Challengers IPL Team, HSBC India & HP India will be the premium sponsors along with some other big names like Airtel, Coca Cola and Samsung who have also taken the key sponsorship slots. Sponsors’ ads will appear throughout the 60-match tournament, across several ad formats, including pre-roll and mid-roll ads, YouTube homepage ads and banner ads next to the Live player and on video watch pages. For final matches, Royal Challengers’ IPL team will take the main slot whereas HSBC India and HP India will cover the semi-finals. Ads from sponsors will appear in all countries where YouTube is available except the United Kingdom. Sponsors ads will also get featured on the IPL-branded Orkut community page, which will host team and player interviews, contests and match polls to engage fans and audiences. (via: campaigndia)

We had earlier written about IPL live streaming on Youtube though the commercial part of the deal was not clear then, but now with such big names in league for sponsorship of it, there is no second thought on the acceptance as well as commercial success of this new digital distribution initiative.

Not only YouTube, in fact other sports websites are also bullish on season 3 of IPL.  As per the latest comScore report, traffic on sports sites have almost doubled in January this year to 10 million, from 5 million visitors in the same month last year. The IPL’s third season, which will start from today, is only expected to increase the traffic more.

India had an estimated 37 million active internet users in January 2010 – which is 15 per cent plus from 32.5 million last year. Yahoo! Cricket leads the pack among sports sites. With nearly 4 million visitors in a single month, it has become the most visited sports destination online. ESPN’s Cricinfo is at the second spot with 3.5 million visitors, followed by Sify Sports with more than a million visitors.

The report also revealed that the total time spent and number of pageviews in the sports category websites have doubled in the last one year. An average sports category visitor spent about 30 minutes at sports sites, viewed 41 pages of content and visited the sports sites nearly 6 times throughout the month (January 2010). In the same month in 2009, an average sports category user spent about 29 minutes, checked 39 pages and landed more than 4 times on sports category sites. Increased pageviews and time spent by visitors can be a positive indication for these sites in their monetization strategy during IPL fever.

With IPL starting from today, it would be interesting to observe the trend in traffic & engagement across different websites. Though there is already a buzz and eagerness amongst internet users to catch the live streaming of IPL matches on YouTube, but as we mentioned in our earlier post, will this affect the traffic of some other popular websites esp. in the lights of new restricted content distribution policy of IPL?

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