Uday Sodhi's venture Kurate partners Rootanian for digital sports content
Digital sports content will never be out of vogue in a content hungry country like India. While digital has become the new turf for sports fans, the audience are more than willing to consume content around their favourite cricket, soccer or kabaddi matches. What earlier used to be consumed in TV has swiftly moved into digital space with maximum consumption on mobile. According to emarketer in 2018, 67% of internet users in India aged 16 to 64 watched sports coverage or highlights online during Q3 2018. 45% watched sports content on their mobile phones while 36% on Laptops. The most watched sports content is lead by Cricket followed by Soccer, Kabaddi, Badminton and Hockey.
“As more and more cricket heroes are emerging, the propensity to consume cricket on Digital platforms are going to increase exponentially. Soccer leagues like the EPL, UEFA Champions league also have a strong following on digital platforms. Domestic leagues in other sports, kabaddi, hockey and sensitivity to develop sports talent in major Olympic disciplines are going to provide the impetus, and the appetite to consume sports will only grow in the country.Brands love to associate with Digital Sports Content as more consumers become mobile first content consumers," said Uday Sodhi of Kurate DIgital Consulting.
With increasing internet and smartphone penetration in India, digital videos accounted for 20% share of the sports rights pie in 2019, and is expected to grow to 40% by 2024. Sports monetization on television as well as digital will be robust., driven by a number of factors, including the addition of more than 250 million broadband subscribers over 2019-2024 as per Media Partners Asia.
The road ahead for Digital sports content is going to be an equation of demand and supply. With a huge cricket loving audience, the content is propelling more and more youths to go digital. According to a Google study covering search data spanning 2013-17, Cricket queries have grown by 80% in just the last two years
"With all the major sporting events resuming their LIVE telecast including cricket and EPL there is going to be a rush for digital sports content to compensate for shortfall in revenue and period of inactivity. All kinds of promotional deals and sponsorships are going to resume in full swing and that’s a big impetus to digital sports content producers," says Naina Toor of Rootanian, who is a seasoned Creative Director & Media professional in sports and entertainment
Embarking on the strong demand for digital sports content the collaboration between Kurate Digital Consulting and Rootanian was forged between two stalwarts of the streaming industry - Uday Sodhi and Naina Toor (both senior ex-employees of Sony Pictures Network and with over a decade of successful careers in the Media and Digital industry and Creative Content & Direction, respectively). The collaboration boasts of highly skilled support staff who have embraced state-of-the-art technology to produce high quality digital content.
The genesis of this collaboration is to create branded content which will leverage the expertise of both within a sports context and will be able to provide scale and drive engagement across social and other channels as per the defined marketing objectives. Advertising funded programmes are another focus area of this partnership which will be able to leverage sports in a big way to get the advertisers message across
One of the recent and successful offerings of the collaboration is ‘Viru ki Baithak’ featuring Virender Sehwag, a daily morning show on ‘Facebook Watch’ which focuses on cricket with interesting trivia and match analysis, around the ongoing T20 League in Dubai. The Season 1 for “Viru Ki Baithak” has been an instant hit with the Social Media Audience. The episodes have been garnering millions of views on social media and have taken the cricket world by storm. The reason for such a new property to become a big hit with cricket fans is the power of the concept coupled with Virender Sehwag’s unique style of delivery, his witty remarks, crackling narration and extra-ordinarily funny references which was the brainchild of Naina & Uday, the IP of the show is owned by Rootanian.
Very soon digital will have the power to completely eliminate the traditional modes of sports content consumption keeping in mind the current sports content consumption on mobile and other devices. Digital sports content consumption is changing the pattern of how various sports are watched in the country. Online viewers are no longer a small, niche category. The average time spent per user is on the rise proportional to the increase in smartphones and other gadgets. The future of sports content is extremely bright and it satisfies the creator, viewer and brands all in one go.