‘The definition of esports has changed and it’s time brands come to speed with that’

The e4m-GroupM Let’s Play: Sports marketing summit saw marketers from a varied category of brands gathered to discuss the role of TV as a medium for advertising during IPL.


On the panel were Karan Taurani, Senior VP, Elara Capital; Deepa Bhatia, GM, YouGov, India; Archana Aggarwal, VP – Media, Airtel; Kaushik Khushal Bhai Thacker, Marketing & Growth, Winzo, and Gaurav Verma, CMO, PharmEasy. The panel was moderated by Mansi Dutta, Chief Client Officer, Wavemaker.


On the IPL vs Superbowl question – which one does well for the audiences as well as advertisers – Bhatia of YouGov said, “IPL is bigger than Super Bowl in terms of viewership but everyone will also say that our population is 3x so it should be bigger. When we see that across different sports and different leagues what we see is IPL is actually double over Super Bowl or EPL of the United Kingdom in terms of top interest for the consumers.”


“IPL is made for co-viewing. Any other league is 60-65% to watch it together, and IPL goes up to 83%. We see 45% of consumers say they like to order food while watching IPL.”


Speaking about the brand recall value going up, Bhatia said, “IPL is such a huge event for brands and for new launches of commercials. IPL has doubled the recall value for brands. What we forget is that IPL is a much longer event. People are not watching it for one day, they’re constantly watching it.”


She stressed that IPL is watched by people, indoors and outdoors. “IPL is a huge event that Indians are engaging with, and of course, they are engaging with on television because live sports is made for connective watching. We all feel it together and we want to watch it together with friends and family or outdoors.


Speaking about TV as a medium and how well it is doing for sporting events for Indian audiences, Taurani said, “In terms of trends, if you see TV as a medium you have seen a sharp decline in terms of consumption patterns but that is more to the other genres, not sports. If you look at the movie genre or GEC genre, catch-up is happening on OTT platforms, so that is where the decline is coming from. Our view primarily here is that sports will sustain on TV mediums because of live consumption. It will have very little impact in terms of the shift to digital, which of course will grow at a faster pace as compared to TV, but there is a very low likelihood of digital surpassing TV.” 


“If you look at the data point around TV AdEx for sports, figures have moved from 8.5 per cent to about 17 to 18 per cent, it has doubled in the last 5 years. Sports as a genre in terms of consumption has actually seen a huge pick. Advertising dollar is a function of viewership and consumption patterns. Hence, sports on TV is here to stay for a long time,” he added.


Talking about cord-cutting, Taurani said, “We don’t force the rapid cord-cutting as well. India, as a market is a very price-sensitive market. 60% of the revenue comes from the pay-first market whereas for other mediums of media, the numbers of phenomenally lower. We don’t see rapid cord-cutting trends, I think sports is one of the silver linings of TV medium. In terms of ads spending, TV is somewhere close to 35 per cent and I don’t see this medium going the print way in terms of decline or becoming half from here.” 


“I think sport is going to be a big driver as a genre. Most developed markets also see TV and digital co-existing.”


Sharing the brand point of view, Verma of PharmEasy said, “We got into IPL 3-4 years back. We have been dabbling with cricket on the side, a little bit, I think we found that there was no other platform to announce our arrival in India like IPL. IPL is a place where a start-up can be and people take it seriously.”


“We have also seen many new audiences coming to TV because of IPL – audiences that don’t come through any other GEC. This allows you to reach audiences that you will never reach otherwise. It also allows you to tell the narrative you want to. We have been doing experiments around the same for better ROI, each time we have gone wider so connected TV and SD and HD.”

Sharing his views, Thacker of WinZo said, “We went live on IPL for the very first time last year and our experience has been great in terms of widening the reach. Gaming as a category in India is at a very nascent stage and we are not just looking at expanding our user base but we are talking about category creation as well we need to educate our users at the same time. IPL gives you that platform to expand the top funnel of your category. It becomes a very key media, to widen our top funnel bring more users into the existing ones, and try and experiment with our products. At the same time gaming is a business which is largely given by tier 2 – tier 3 markets of the country sports and cricket in India is basically something that is far out reach, the reach of GEC impacts combine.”

Basking on the journey of Airtel advertising for a very long time on IPL, Aggarwal noted, “Historically Airtel has a very close relationship with cricket. We have always been on cricket and if I look at the last many years, the way IPL has evolved, Airtel has also. Communication is now more product-focused, given that now the objective is more about a reach and getting those eyeballs. We have changed the way we bought IPL, we used to buy IPL because it is a very good reach conductor. You can build reach literally in 7 to 10 days. We use to buy alternate matches at one time. Now if we have a campaign, we buy a couple of matches for at least 10 matches minimum.”


“Last year, we bought IPL in two crunches because we had two different campaigns. We bought the first 10 matches and we bought the middle 10 matches. In 2018, we did a campaign for the re-launch of the Thanks app. We had different communications targeting different audiences. We actually broke up our creative in a manner where the top creatives for the platinum segment were only on HD.”


Throwing some light on how TV will grow in the coming years, Taurani said, “In terms of sports as a genre for consumption you are watching it live, you have got connected TV but the numbers are small there. You also have the issue of data if you look at the broadband penetration in the country. It’s not more than 15% to 17%. Smart TV numbers will definitely grow over the next 5 years. They will go to 35 to 40 million houses but TV penetration is very high and it’s very massy. You have got a variety of audiences right from middle age to youth to the old age. Digital is more consumed by the youth, slightly the middle age as well. For sports, TV is important consumption for sports like cricket, 80% of viewership comes from TV.”


Thacker of WinZo also noted that “the beauty of IPL is that you cannot buy many spots as they are very expensive”.


“You can immediately see your downloads because we are a totally digital company. So apart from the longer-term matrix like your performance marketing funnel improvement, the short-term impact is also much more visible if you are there on TV on IPL.”

This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here

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