Ad spends on IPL have fallen by over a fifth, says Viacom18 Sports’ CEO
“Overall, the IPL ad spends have dropped 20% over last year because some of the categories, like betting, cryptocurrency, edtech, etc., were completely missing, and the IPL TV viewership had fallen quite dramatically last year,” Jayaraj said, adding that the viewership drop has a lag effect on advertisement revenue. He said the absence of new-age advertisers has hurt linear TV a lot more than digital. “Digital revenues are not dependent on certain categories as ticket sizes are affordable and people can choose the audiences that they want to target,” Jayaraj said.
According to industry estimates, IPL’s ad revenue this year has dropped to ₹4,000 crore from between ₹4,000 crore and ₹5,000 crore in 2022. Disney Star held both the TV and digital rights last year. Without getting into the specifics, Jayaraj said Viacom18 has met its revenue and viewership targets. The company has paid ₹23,758 crore to acquire the IPL digital rights for five years till 2027.
“We had set targets on revenue and viewership. On both, it certainly looks like we should have done that (achieve our targets),” he said. Viacom18 had set a target of attracting ₹3,700 crore in ad revenue and reaching 550 million viewers. “We are still collating the viewership numbers,” he said.
According to Jayaraj, the overall revenue mix for the Indian Premier League has changed this year. Till last year, TV used to account for the lion’s share.
“Our viewership was dramatically high on digital this year, purely because we were accessible to all consumers,” he said. “Connected TV’s growth was phenomenal. Because of that, digital had a manifold jump over last year’s revenue. We have managed to deliver good revenue, and therefore, the ratio of TV to digital has changed.”Jayaraj believes that the IPL will come out very strong due to viewership growth this year. He expects missing advertising categories like new-age companies to come back strongly next year.The Viacom18 Sports CEO said IPL will continue to remain free because of the success the company has achieved this year. “We have had huge success this year, so there is no real reason for us to change our strategy,” he said.
According to Jayaraj, the ad-led model is the best monetisation route in the country due to the growth seen in the digital viewer base.
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