What are digital rights in IPL: Why Viacom18 bid for both Package B and C for the IPL media rights auction for 2023-27 cycle?
The BCCI is set to earn a whopping amount of INR 48,390 Crore as media rights for the five-year cycle (2023-27), with the e-auction for the same finally wrapping up on Tuesday, after some intense bidding between the parties concerned.
While the rights of Package ‘A’ (Indian subcontinent TV) were re-bagged by STAR INDIA at a record amount of INR 23,575 Crore this time around, the Reliance Industries-led Viacom18 bagged the ‘Package B’ (India sub-continent digital) as well as the ‘Package C’ (India digital non-exclusive special package) rights for a collective sum of INR 23,758 Crore.
Package ‘C’, introduced for the first time, consists of a total of 98 matches (across five seasons), including the opening match, Playoffs, and night matches of the double headers in each season, which are likely to generate maximum TRPs for the broadcasters.
The ‘Package D’ rights for the rest of the World, were bagged by Viacom18 and Times Internet at a sum of INR 1,057 Crore.
What are digital rights in IPL
The digital media rights refer to the ones concerning the online viewers of the IPL matches. The online users watching the live streaming of matches over their mobiles, laptops, tablets etc. pay a subscription fee as decided by the digital rights owner of their streaming platform.
Voot or Paramount+ is likely to be the digital platform set to live stream the IPL matches for the 2023-27 cycle.
Viacom18 bags digital rights with its winning bid of Rs 23,758 cr. India has seen a digital revolution & the sector has endless potential. The digital landscape has changed the way cricket is watched. It has been a big factor in the growth of the game & the Digital India vision.
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) June 14, 2022
Why Viacom18 bid for both Package B and C
The question which might well crop up in the minds of the followers of the sport is that why Viacom18 bid (and eventually won) the rights for Package ‘C’ (which covers only the digital Indian sub-continent as well), when they had already won the Indian sub-continent digital rights (Package ‘B’).
To simply put, had Viacom18 let go of the exclusive rights package (for nearly 18 matches per season), some other platform (say Disney+ Hotstar) could easily decide to charge a nominal subscription fee, or even nothing at all for these exclusive matches from the viewers, and get a massive return on their investment by charging extra from its advertisers, with a high viewership guarantee.
The above case, of a split in the viewership for these potential high eyeball-garnering matches, might cause a huge loss to Viacom18 (for example), when these are the very games when a broadcaster or streaming service provider is supposed to earn the maximum.