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IPL menace reduces for rival broadcasters, cinemas, OTTs

The country’s annual cricket jamboree the Indian Premier League (IPL) is off to a lukewarm start this year, bringing some good news for rival broadcasters and streaming platforms and theatre owners who would see nearly 50% dip in viewership and footfalls until a few years ago around the time that the tournament was aired.

While TV networks are no longer holding back on dramatic twists or grand episodes, the sense is that web shows and movies with social media buzz and marketing hype are not constrained by appointment viewing and viewing habits have been established for good, which explains why show and movie launches have continued in this period.

Offerings like Dasvi (Netflix), Abhay (ZEE5) and Gullak (SonyLIV) have managed considerable traction over the past two weeks. Unlike earlier, films too aren’t holding back from releases in theatres and titles like KGF: Chapter 2 have set the cash registers ringing, with the Hindi version alone having crossed the ₹300 crore mark at last count.

While sports continues to be a major customer acquisition tool, media experts say all OTT platforms are rapidly investing in long-form, particularly regional content to woo viewers while broadcasters continue with show launches and long, special episodes.

Viewership ratings of other TV channels could see up to a 50% drop around the time of the tournament earlier, the television executive said but that is not the case now given that audience sets have fragmented to discover a variety of programming especially over the past two years and attention is much tougher to grab now. All channels track IPL ratings closely, the person said but this time, while they are not laidback, they see no reason to defer launches or big dramatic episodes.

“Originals and long-format web shows are the only way to go for a streaming platform now. Also, unlike major movies or sports properties, they are also cost effective as many platforms have discovered a way to hit the sweet spot between ₹5-10 crore per season,” said a senior executive at a streaming platform. Live Mint

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