If you are a cricket fan in India with access to a smartphone, you probably didn’t miss a single game of the recently concluded T20 World Cup. The love for cricket runs deep among Indians and if it is a World Cup then the excitement levels peak to giddy heights. This was very evident from the record-breaking viewership that Disney+ Hotstar registered for the T20 World Cup this year.
With an upsurge in the adoption of OTT platforms for sports viewing, especially cricket, you no-longer have to leave early from work or cancel plans with friends to watch a match at home. Cricket fans are now enjoying games on the go. India has an increasing OTT user base which is fueling the mobile-first approach changing the way sports is consumed in India.
As compared to the T20 WC 2021, this year’s WC broke all previous viewership records on Disney+ Hotstar and has set a new benchmark with 1.13X higher unique reach compared to last year and the highest ever concurrent viewership being 19 million for an India match (India-Pakistan, India-SA) and 12 million for a non-India match (England-Pakistan final). The streaming era has brought with itself the luxury of viewing on demand which allows you to view a game as per your convenience, and relive the excitement of a match to the fullest. Due to this feature, engagement continues to soar with 1.7 times more viewership for shoulder content like highlights and match replays this year as compared to 2021. The highest engagement was recorded for the full replay of key matches like India-Pakistan or India-South Africa.
In today’s hyper-connected, fast paced world, consumers want the freedom to be able to access their favorite game anytime, anywhere. Sports streaming enables fans to catch their favorite game on the go, anytime, anywhere. A dedicated cricket fan does not like to compromise on his viewing experience, even there, Disney+ Hotstar has played its best game. Despite the huge convergence, the no glitch experience was appreciated by the viewers through positive chatter on social media.
The CTV universe is also growing at a fast pace, witnessing 25% growth in viewership and 50% growth in watch time during the T20 WC 22 as compared to last year. According to an article by Forbes, the post pandemic growth in consumption of content on OTT has risen exponentially, which has also in turn pushed the growth of CTVs. The Magnite survey, 2022-23 finds the majority of audiences (75%) streaming more video content now than one year ago, and (66%) expect to stream more video content in the near future.
The digital boom in sports viewership is not only making the viewers happy, it is also bringing in big gains for the advertisers too. As per a recent report by KPMG, the digital revenue for sports is estimated to grow from INR 1,540 crore in FY21 to INR 4,360 crore in FY26, at CAGR of 22 percent. The same is likely to be driven by organic growth in the number of OTT viewers in India, as well as an increase in consumption of sports on OTT, fueled by the convenience of anywhere viewing. The Magnite survey mentions that streamers who are tech-savvy, educated and live in urban areas of the country are 64% more likely to pay attention to ads on streaming platforms than other digital platforms. For the World Cup, Disney+ Hotstar has been leveraged by over 450 advertisers and campaigns across 125 brands. The brand personalization and audience targeting that Disney+ Hotstar allows helps advertisers deliver their message effectively.
“We have been a consistent advertiser on Disney+ Hotstar for live sports, specifically cricket. Given our country’s love for the sport, the recently concluded T20 WC was a key tournament for us to reach out to relevant audiences, Disney+ Hotstar further enabled us to sharply target our intended audiences via CTVs. CTV audiences are predominantly young urban adults with high disposable income, which is also our core audience. Leveraging Disney+ Hotstar’s CTV offering, we were able to reach out to new investors to encourage and educate them about mindful investing. The campaign has been highly successful in delivering stellar results against key brand metrics such as message association & brand favorability,” says Abhijit Shah, Head - Marketing, Digital & Customer Experience at ICICI Prudential AMC Ltd.
Supporting the view that content consumption on digital is growing and so are the advertising budgets, Roopam Garg, CEO, Dentsu X said, “In a cricket loving nation such as ours, the WC is when the fans’ frenzy peaks. This year with the T20 WC coinciding with the much-awaited festive season, after 2 years of muted celebrations, led to a very high advertisers’ interest in the tournament. Content consumption on digital is growing and so is the advertisers budget allocation. Another trend we are seeing is the growing interest in CTV advertising, given that streaming content has now become mainstream. We have had a very successful T20 WC season this year with Disney+ Hotstar and are looking forward to the 50 0ver 2023 WC now,” he added.