Blackberry, other mobile companies woo IPL fans

Written by Anushree Bhattacharyya | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 23 2014, 15:14pm hrs
BlackberryBlackberry, for instance, has launched a Blackberry Messenger (BBM) channel that streams IPL matches on its messenger service
While IPL viewership on TV is expected to be tepid this season, fans are catching up on the IPL hungama elsewhere. Mobile content and services companies as well as direct-to-home operators have launched several mobile apps, content and services around IPL and they claim that the customers are lapping them up.

Blackberry, for instance, has launched a Blackberry Messenger (BBM) channel that streams IPL matches on its messenger service. The company, which is also a sponsor for the Mumbai Indians, claims the channel already has 2,000 users and expects the number to go up. We will be promoting the channel through activations in malls across Western India. The idea is to build the channel among fans, especially those in Mumbai, said Amar Thomas, country marketing manager, Blackberry India.

Meanwhile, Times Internet has tied up with mobile value-added-services provider DigiVive for live streaming of IPL matches on its mobile television platform called NexGTv. Times Internet had won the internet and mobile broadcast rights for IPL for Rs 261.6 crore in 2011 and it licensed the digital distribution rights to Star India in January 2014 while tying with DigiVive for mobile streaming. On NexGTv, apart from the matches, users can watch match repeats and highlights through video-on-demand. Last year the platform recorded 1.8 million downloads during the IPL. This year, we expect it to record 3 million downloads in the next 45 days. Also during the IPL we expect an 25-30% increase in traffic and four times growth in viewership, said GD Singh, director, DigiVive. The company is not selling its IPL channel on a-la-carte basis. Instead, the channel is being sold, along with other entertainment and news channels, as part of a package for R100 crore.

Tata Sky has offered its mobile application Everywhere TV for free. Audiences can view all the IPL matches from April 14 till June 1. The DTH operator claim that the initiative has been launched with an aim to drive trial of the new app amongst its consumers.

Blogmint, a networked community of bloggers, promoted and managed by digital content creation and management company Tangerine Digital, has launched a mobile application called The Loudest Cheer across the world. The app allows users to create their audio or video cheer which will be showcased on Youtube. Moreover, the participants leading the scoreboard with maximum cheers will earn points and those with highest points will win a prize. With IPL going overseas, we realised the need for teams and fans to be connected and technology was the only option to bridge this gap, said Seeraj Katoch, COO, Tangerine Digital.

Mobile commerce platform Paytm has launched a mega shopping festival coinciding with the IPL during which the highlight will be the IPL merchandise. While on a regular day we receive around 1,000 orders, we expect it to rise to 10,000 per day during the IPL, including mobile recharges, said Deepak Abbot, AVP, Paytm.

Mohit Hira, CEO, Hungama Digital Services, and digital head at JWT India, says So far the game was restricted to getting people online to consume videos and other formats of data but from this year onwards, we will see companies going beyond the live telecast of the game and scoreboards to create special applications for consumers.