How IPL-3 clicked with digital media

By now, the IPL-3 hoopla has become the most well-documented media event in recent times. The shortest version of cricket has already created a long list of records.

The inaugural match secured a TRP of 6.95 in the six-metro market, according to TAM (C&S 4+); the last season's kick-off got 5.55. Besides, commercial advertising time on television for the first match of the current season was 10 % higher than the season openers of 2008 and 2009. Moreover, IPL-3 is the first sporting event to be broadcast live on Youtube.

The success of the T20 novelty has galvanised digital advertising, another Indian fledgling ” at least in relative terms ” to latch on to the opportunities afforded by the cricketainment spectacular.

However, Sundaram of networkplay sounded a warning. "Besides Youtube and IPLT20.com, we won't find anyone trying to associate with the event directly," he said. "And the ones who don't associate directly will not end up making much money. It is the same story on TV too. Besides Set Max, no channel has been allowed to show direct IPL feeds."

Budget: Changing the field

Making money from advertising involves investment. But there is no unambiguous trend one way or the other that clarifies the budget-allocation strategy for this season.

Sharma of ESPN Star said that most confirmations did not come before the eve of the inaugural match. "So I would assume that there were some last-moment budget allocations or adjustments from clients," he said.

Mohanty of Id8labs endorsed Dasguptas view: "Yes! Some of our clients have allocated budgets for the IPL," he said.

Specialised tactics

Industry bigwigs say that after entering the IPL fray, it was important to deploy campaign innovations. "Chevrolet, along with Nokia, has partnered us for our Fantasy Game based on cricket, called Super Selector," Sharma said. "That enabled us to use social plugs to widen the viral reach." Sharma said that a special section for Tata Photon Plus had also been conceived. "It is based on the daily performance by various teams or players," he said. "We have several other pure display deals for the section."

Mohanty said that Id8labs had focused on interactivity, conversation, and application as forms of engagement for its clients. "Most of our clients are looking at both interaction (banner and rich media) and conversation (social media marketing)," he said. "This time, we have also experimented with application-based protocols such as desktop widgets and I-phone apps."

Dasgupta put the innovations in perspective. "Clients are more open to tailor-made innovations," he said. "Last year, apart from a host of tailor-made contests such as the Cricket Fantasy game, we created a Graffiti Wall for our users," he said. "This year, we have an innovation called Score Bug on all Web18 portals. That has been appreciated."

All industry chieftains agree that IPL is here to stay, and that its innovations will foster greater creativity from the media that seeks to leverage the tournament. So as you enjoy some frenetic exertions from the cricket field, brace yourself for some breathless action from the digital media.

Exclusives
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