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Amid a lot of speculation and inaccurate information leaked to the public, the IPL bidding wars were concluded last weekend with clear winners – Disney Star, Viacom18 and Times Internet. The BCCI along with Mjunction did an e-auction for the IPL media rights for the next five years. To ensure complete transparency, they conducted mock auctions on June 6. Amazon India, Disney Star, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited (Sony Pictures Networks India), Viacom18, Sky Sports (UK), Google India, Dream11, MX Player, and SuperSport (South Africa) were the big players present for the mock bidding wars. To make things more interesting, the bids were made on a per match basis and no one could view who had made what bid until the highest bid was recorded on the screen. And for the first time, there was no composite bidding. This helped create exclusivity to a certain degree. The lessening of the gap between per match bid for television and that of digital is a sure sign that the value of a digital bid is approaching that of television. Read this article here to know more.
The IPL now is second only to the NFL in the United States, in terms of the cost of rights per match. The NFL is 17 million per match but the IPL is now at 15 million, and the EPL is at 11 million. So, the value of the IPL signals the fact that this is a market full of young people who are becoming far more transactional. To extract that value, there needs to be some very strategic thinking by Viacom18 to ensure that they bring content to where the new viewers are. Harsha Bhogle’s tweet on the day of the auction where he said, “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” truly reflects the opportunities the bid winners have on the table. If you walk away you don’t get a shot at this at all, but if you do, you’re going to get a shot at doing something great. Disney, Viacom 18 and Reliance have been making strategic decisions and investments for months and this is not going to be their first strategic masterstroke. We are going to see many more in the future. Find out more in this article here on IPL media rights.
Apple won the bid for Major League Soccer in the United States and Netflix is bidding for Formula 1. Apple’s consumers can now watch these matches on Apple TV ‘without any local broadcast blackouts or the need for a traditional pay TV bundle’. This article talks about the historic foray of Apple into sports.
Clearly, there’s a lot of activity around sport and bidding for sport in a way that signals innovations. With a bouquet of offerings across platforms, consumers will keep coming back for a variety of reasons every day of the week. Every one of these fabrics or frameworks is pointing at different strains of relationship that lead to a higher LTV. Peter Kafka wrote in his newsletter that ‘while you must create a relationship as a platform, market the content, not the platform.’ The need of the hour is to be strategic about every piece of content and continue to think out-of-the-box.