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IPL 2018: Telcos cashing on the cricket fever by making users consume more data with games, shows

Analysts believe that moving forward telcos will peg content as the key differentiator.

  • Published: April 9, 2018 3:12 PM IST
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Recently, Airtel and Reliance Jio rolled out special offers and prepaid packs to enable users to stream the ongoing Indian Premier League 2018 cricket series on their phones for free, as opposed to the paid packages by Hotstar. However, accompanying these streams are also some cricket-based quizzes, games and shows that these telcos have been sharing with their users, on their native apps. Consequently, pushing up data consumption and the revenue for it in the long run.

According to a report by ET, over the next two months, the telecom operators will work towards outdoing each other with the aim to grab the millions of fans who are watching the ongoing cricket series. The IPL 2018 started on April 7, and will go on till May 27. Apparently, the primary aim of these telcos will be to “garner heavy data subscribers who will push up the average revenue per user (ARPU), a key industry metric.”

“Telcos will see an increase of at least 25-30 percent in their data revenue because of the IPL season and this may translate to a 10-15 percent uptick in ARPU for some time,” Sandip Das, senior advisor at Analysys Mason, a telecom, media and digital services consulting and research firm told ET.

Reportedly, analysts estimate that from the live streaming of the India-South Africa cricket series in January and February, Airtel may have seen up to ten percent surge in data revenue.

Hotstar recently launched a Rs 299 per year “All Sports Pack” for its users, to allow them to stream the IPL 2018 and other sports events in the year. Or otherwise users had the option to go for the Premium account, which costs Rs 199 per month and Rs 999 for a year. However, Airtel and Reliance Jio announced a partnership with the Hotstar, announcing that its subscribers could enjoy these matches for free on Airtel TV app and Jio app respectively. For prepaid users, Jio and Airtel have also announced a bunch of dedicated packs to watch the series.

In addition to that, on the MyJio app, Reliance Jio also launched a Jio Cricket Play-Along, called Jeeto Dhan Dhana Dhan game, which is accessible to all Jio users in India, which can be played in around 11 Indian languages, and win prizes worth crores. A Cricket comedy show has also been released called Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan Live, which features comedian Sunil Grover and sports anchor, Samir Kochhar. It airs every Friday to Sunday at 7:30PM IST. The show premieres exclusively on MyJio app, available free to both Jio and non-Jio subscribers.

And this trend is indicative of how the network providers are now moving beyond the basics and pegging content as the key differentiator. ET quotes SP Tulsian, founder of Premium Investments, as saying “Content and quality of content will be the driving force for telcos going ahead, with rates now almost similar across all existing operators.”

Apparently, analysts believe that moving forward more content offerings will be weaved in as bundled packs increase. It is estimated that offers which couple together voice and data, account for about a fifth of all plans, and such offers are expected to rise to about 40 percent in a year. Reportedly, “about 25 percent of the country’s 1.15 billion wireless subscribers switched to bundled plans in the past nine months and this proportion is expected to rise to about 50 percent in the next two years.”

  • Published Date: April 9, 2018 3:12 PM IST