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ICC CWC 2019 well on course to break all previous viewership records

The ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2019 is on course to break all previous viewership records as the tournament progresses into the later stages. According to viewership data shared by Star India for the 2015 ICC CWC, India had 635 million viewers tuned in to the tournament at the semi-final stage, when India played against Australia. That was also the first World Cup where Star Sports had deployed their fledgling OTT platform Hotstar to live stream the tournament.

Now after four years, with the maturing of digital platforms in India, Star Sports is on an unstoppable course to break all previous records in both ad spends and viewership for the tournament.

One of the most highly anticipated matches of the tournament that is India versus Pakistan, which will be played on June 16, 2019. Star Sports has amplified conversations around the match and generated buzz, bringing back their ‘Mauka Mauka’ campaign.

Read More: Baap re baap! Mauka Mauka returns to up the game of one-upmanship

Now, as advertiser interest mounts for one of the most important matches in the tournament for the Indian audience, we caught up with media experts to understand Star Sports’ strategy for this match.

Sujata Dwibedy, EVP & Head of Buying & Trading, Amplifi India, observed, “In the last World Cup, India were the defending champions, having won the tournament in 2011. Though they did not make it to the finals, the most widely watched match during the tournament was India Vs Pakistan, which is estimated to have drawn over 1 billion viewers (globally). This year it is on a Sunday, so we do expect a huge surge in viewership.It should be at least 25-30 per cent higher than the other India matches in terms of eyeballs.

Pointing out that with India being a cricket fanatic market and country, Sudhir Kumar, Director – Offline Media, DCMN India, said, “This match will obviously command higher eyeballs and the sentiments will be high. You will get maximum reach and engagement for this match. In the previous ICC World Cup, the India-Pakistan match touched 600 million people (in India) in terms of viewership and that was a media dark timeslot. Almost four years back the viewership was that high, so it will certainly increase by 20-30 per cent this year.”

Industry sources have confirmed to Adgully that Star Sports has sold out the digital inventory for the India Vs Pakistan match with an expected 12-15 million viewers catching the game just on digital.

While it is uncertain whether they have sold out the inventory for television, Kumar opined that “Star Sports will save at least 10 per cent of their inventory because everyone would love to advertise on this match.”

Dwibedy is confident that Star Sports has sold out their entire inventory since this is “the most awaited match for the cricket loving audience”.

This year, advertisers may be more confident about buying online inventory as in India, weekdays or weekends don’t impact the viewership on live digital feeds. In the previous match between India and Australia, media observers saw 11 million+ user concurrency on live digital feeds.

Star Sports might see upwards of Rs 15 crore revenue just from the India-Pakistan game. Dwibedy said that “There are a lot of advertisers who wanted to buy it separately and are ready to pay the price for it. In terms of advertisers, the inventory is limited.”

Kumar added here, “The ad spends may almost double for this match. If you buy inventory for the entire 48 matches then the rates will be different, but if you buy inventory for the India specific matches, the rates will go up almost 100 per cent. If you are only eyeing the India-Pakistan match, then the rates might be as high as Rs 20-25 lakh per 10 seconds.”

He believes that advertisers are feeling optimistic because of the fact that due to the time difference, every match is played around prime time in India.

This year, brands such as Airtel, USL, Pernod Ricard, Subway, Himalaya, ICICI, Acko General Insurance, Mars, Franklin Templeton, ITC, Mother Dairy, and Calvin Klein are expected to invest heavily in the India-Pakistan match.

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