2020 will go down as the year of many ‘firsts. Amongst these first was the surge in the number of OTT platforms being utilised for witnessing sporting events. It was clear that the sporting fervour can never be taken away from fans regardless of what happens around the world. This is the opportunity that was capitalised upon by companies such as Amazon, Hotstar and SonyLiv who brought out a new business model while everyone was stuck at home.
How did Hotstar, Amazon, and SonyLiv fare?
If we look at the impact the IPL had on live streaming, it was truly phenomenal. It had the biggest impact on Disney’s overall subscribers base with viewership increasing tenfold and advertising agencies capitalising on the opportunity as well. It was a win-win situation for all parties involved with the company making the most of the increased viewership and revenue allocation.
This IPL season is expected to break all viewership records with an Average Minute Audience of 37.1 Million.
— The Bridge (@TheBridge_IN) September 23, 2020
Amazon bought the rights to stream Champions League, NFL etc back in 2017 and it was great foresight which helped them during the Coronavirus Pandemic as they had already acquired long term deals to stream and profited immensely when everyone was sitting at home.
SonyLiv too has the right chords with its Indian viewers by providing WWE streaming packages which is definitely the right step in terms of holding exclusive rights to one of India’s most loved sporting events. All this makes sense with the results of a poll conducted by RedSeer which saw sports being declared as the most viewed OTT in all platforms and a 13% hike in all viewership being the highlight.
Fans are now back in the stadium
However, the recent initiative of allowing fans back into the stadiums does not mean that OTT platforms will see a dip in viewership. Several platforms have already begun striking deals with organisers of future tournaments. Eros International in one such streaming service that has rights to streaming in countries such as Bhutan, Canada, Hong Kong, Maldives, Australia, and many more. It is worth noting that Eros has had no previous experience or rights in streaming sporting events, but this is another bandwagon which they wish to jump on in order to further their business. Even events such as the Poker Sports League have received several offers by streaming services in order to get rights to what may be one of India’s’ biggest online sporting events.
Movies and sports have seen a major shift in the platform for viewership in the past few years. It is truly a tech revolution so to speak and with a potential 4-billion-dollar market, it only makes sense that more companies continue to provide the best deals both for their viewers and the respective sporting agencies.