The real story in IPL auction is not money

The auction of the media rights for the 2023-27 cycle of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a significant event in India’s media history, and not just for the mind-blowing that manages the IPL’s owner, the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Withdraw from bidders. It marks the beginning of the end of broadcast television as we knew it. And the beginning of a new chapter in the India Growth Story – one that will be written in digital ink.

Not that money is anything to sneeze at. Feather 48,390 crore ($6.2 billion), the IPL is now more valuable as a sports franchise in the US and Canada than the English Premier League, US Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and only US national football. is behind. League Superbowl. For an idea born just a decade and a half ago, it’s going unbelievable—after all, major league baseball began in 1876, the NBA in 1946, and even the EPL is now thirty years old.

But money is not the story. Not even the speed of IPL’s success or the fact that the media value per match of an IPL game is now staggering 118 crores. No, the real story in this IPL auction is that this bidding round probably marks the exit of traditional television broadcasters and the entry of new digital media giants.

In fact, television has already outperformed digital in the value sweepstakes. While Disney Hotstar acquired the television rights for the Indian subcontinent 23,575 crore, Mukesh Ambani-owned Viacom18 grabbed the digital rights of the Indian sub-continent as well as a non-exclusive package of high-profile games and TV and digital rights in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. total of 23,758 crores. Clearly, a digital Indian costs much more than an Indian who watches television.

This is a big change from the last auction just five years ago. star paid 16,348 crore for the combined digital and broadcast television rights for the 2017-2022 cycle of the IPL. This time, Viacom18 has paid 20,500 crore for digital rights for the Indian subcontinent alone.

Why?

easy. Indians are consuming data at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world. The number of mobile broadband subscribers increased from 345 million to 765 million between 2016 and 2021. According to Nokia’s Mobile Broadband Index Report 2022, the average mobile data consumption is now around 17GB per user per month. The Indian mobile broadband market registered the fastest growth rate in the world. India was the world’s fastest growing mobile data market in 2021. And it’s rapidly moving towards higher quality and speed, with 4G mobile data growing by 31%. India’s average monthly data traffic per user is now growing at 26.6% year on year. With the stage set for auctioning 5G spectrum, it could see a quantum jump – in data speed, data consumption and of course, expenses.

Because, while entertainment is driving this consumption, other businesses are also catching up. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) created by the government saw a staggering 558 crore transactions in April 2022, with the transaction value approaching. 10 lakh crore per month. From a cigarette and cup of tea at the corner store to big-ticket mortgage payments, Indians are using their smartphones for everything from timepieces to timeshares. With 169 million units shipped in 2021, India is a $38 billion smartphone market, growing at over 22% CAGR. And customers are already ready for 5G – 5G smartphone shipments grew over 500% in India last year and now accounts for one in five smartphones sold.

This means that no consumer-facing industry – whether retail, financial services or products – can expect to be successful in a purely offline mode. If they cannot reach the Digital Indian, they cannot reach the Indian consumer. Duration.

And IPL, with its unparalleled ability to provide wider, deeper and deeper reach across all geographies and socio-economic categories of India, represents this New India in the macro world. This is the reason why big tech mega players like Amazon and Apple and Meta and Google were more interested in IPL. They may have opted out of bidding this time. But they will come back.

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