Disney Star's Cricket Integration Across Digital and TV
Head of Ad Sales at Disney Star, Ajit Varghese, has a clear vision when it comes to the upcoming cricketing tournaments – maximizing advertisers' opportunities, that is the cricket integration across digital and TV. The company has carefully calculated the potential loss of subscription revenue on its streaming platform by offering free access to both the Asia Cup (starting on August 30) and the ICC World Cup (beginning on October 5) on mobile devices. Instead, Disney Star plans to recoup the investment through increased ad revenue, a strategy that Varghese believes will yield better incremental returns.
The festive season, combined with two significant tournaments featuring India in about 15 matches, presents a promising opportunity for the Disney-backed broadcaster in the second half of the year. With four or five of the India matches scheduled against Pakistan, the company expects to capitalize on the excitement of this fierce rivalry on the pitch.
To make advertising on the streaming platform more enticing, Disney+ Hotstar is offering new features and an expanded array of targeting options. Advertisers now have 75 different targeting options to choose from, up from 35 in previous years. Moreover, the platform is making the advertising process more accessible by opening its self-serve platform to all advertisers from mid-August 2023, after being in beta testing since 2018.
Disney Star aims to raise Rs 120 crore for co-presenting sponsorship and Rs 90 crore for the World Cup. The 10-second ad rate for the World Cup is set at Rs 31 lakh for India and knockout matches. As for the Asia Cup, the broadcaster is seeking Rs 26 crore for co-presenting sponsorship and Rs 20 crore for associate sponsorship. Notably, spot buying rates for India vs. Pakistan and the final match during the Asia Cup are around Rs 25 lakh per 10 seconds.
To make cricket accessible to businesses with limited budgets, Varghese says the company is reducing the entry barrier for advertisers on the digital platform. During the festive season, CPMs on Disney+ Hotstar will be comparable to those on user-generated content (UGC) platforms. While typical CPMs on Disney+ Hotstar range between Rs 200 - Rs 230, Varghese anticipates "double-digit CPMs" for the upcoming tournaments, expected to be in the range of Rs 60-70 for the Cricket World Cup.
On TV, Disney Star is taking a unique approach by allowing advertisers to buy ads on the World Cup & Asia Cup in either SD or HD format. This move not only reduces the entry barrier for advertisers but also enables brands to align their product positioning with the appropriate media format.
During the IPL 2023, Disney Star and JioCinema vied for the title of the best medium for cricket consumption. While JioCinema streamed IPL matches for free, Disney Star attracted 50.5 crore viewers to watch the live matches. Varghese notes that neither offering free cricket nor putting it behind a paywall has affected television viewership of the tournament. Ratings have improved across all cricketing events over the past nine months, including IPL, bilateral series, and the T20 World Cup.
With the three-month festive window approaching, Varghese is optimistic that advertisers of all sizes will seize the opportunity to capitalize on high consumer sentiment and spending during September, October, and November. So far, the broadcaster has seen interest from various sectors, including automotive, infrastructure, e-commerce, fintech, and FMCG brands. Varghese believes cricket will be an essential component of every TV and digital media plan during this period.