Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India, is relying on IPL, the country’s most lucrative sporting event, to expand his entertainment and telecom empire. But the competition has succumbed to a 15-year itch and is experiencing consumer weariness.
Only 25% of Indians watched the IPL this year, and even among those who did, 65% watched it on TV, according to a new report by consumer data intelligence business Axis My India. Only 29% of respondents claimed to have viewed it online.
Ambani now has less than a third of the pie’s smaller portion since the days of people taking sick days during the Indian Premier League are long gone.
However, Viacom18 paid a record sum of $23,750 crore last month to get two and a half bundles of IPL’s broadcast rights. It defeated Disney Star to secure the deal that includes non-exclusive digital rights and distribution in a few foreign nations. It sounds like a lot of money was spent on a home that is no longer in high demand.
Only 25% Indians watched IPL this year
This season, even the viewers watched at least a few games. In the first four weeks of season 15, television viewership decreased by 30-35 percent from the same period in 2014.
Pradeep Gupta, the chairman and MD of Axis My India, said, “one can witness respondents suffering from consumption fatigue which could be related to the innumerable choice of content, ease in mobility and the availability of experiencing ‘cinema’ etc. The craze around IPL persists across platforms but whether this excitement justifies its high media rights, time will tell.”
The CMO of Axis My India, Girish Upadhyay, is more optimistic since rural consumers are watching IPL on mobile because bandwidth is cheaper and there are power outages.