On Thursday, Disney announced its whopping $52.4 billion deal with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc which gave the world’s best-known entertainment company new advantages in India such as local-language TV shows and massive film opportunities. However, a closer look at this deal reveals that in spite of all the lucrative options in Disney’s kitty, the Indian Premier League (IPL) could be the golden goose of this deal. Also, Prem Parameswaran, chief executive of North America for Eros International Plc, a distributor of Indian movies, shows and music that also has an online streaming service believes that the recently won IPL rights by Fox should add to Disney’s bottom line. “In India there is religion, there is cricket and there is Bollywood,” he said.
In 2018, the Indian Premier League will reach its 11th season. It has grown at an incredible pace over the last decade, with the 10th season of the cash-rich league getting 1.25 billion impressions for the 59 matches played between 5 April and 21 May, a 22.5% jump from a year-ago period. According to the data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), IPL had recorded 1.02 billion impressions for the 60 matches watched across five channels – Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD.
In fact, the final played between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants recorded 39.4 million impressions, making it the most watched match in India’s history. Impressions, also known as television viewership in thousands (TVT), refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.
This massive success allowed Sony Max to remain the most-watched television channel across genres for several weeks. The channel surely made a lot of money through advertisements and sponsors.
The game changed in September when Star Sports under the Star India umbrella spent a whopping Rs Rs 16,347.5 crore or $2.55 billion for IPL media rights over the next five years till 2022. This is nearly triple of what Sony, the previous TV rights holders, had paid for ten years in 2009. If you do a little math, Star will be spending Rs 55 crore for every IPL match and Rs 23.3 lakh for every legal delivery bowled.
Apart from this, its platform Hotstar also holds the rights for online streaming of IPL. In next 10 years, the spot rates of online ads will definitely take over the rates for television ads, generating a huge revenue for Disney.
IPL, being the best investment opportunity for advertisers could turn out to be the hidden gem of this deal.
Moreover, it gives Disney a huge market share in India’s sports scene, with Star Sports already having the broadcast rights to domestic and international cricket in India and when the national team travels to England, Australia and Bangladesh. So, including IPL, Disney will broadcast nearly 76 per cent of all matches involving India that are played in a calendar year. It doesn’t even include the ICC events which are also held by Star – World Cups (men and women), Champions Trophy, World T20s, Under-19 World Cups as well as the Asia Cup.
Opportunities are far more than one can see. Star also holds rights for fast-growing leagues like Pro Kabaddi (PKL), Hockey India League (HIL), FIH Hockey events, Indian Super League (ISL), badminton, Formula 1, Bundesliga, English Premier League. However, the highest revenue will be generated from already dominates most of the eyeballs and will get even more.