disneystar: IPL: DisneyStar wins TV rights; Viacom18 gets digital

DisneyStar won the television broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) while the digital rights went to Viacom18, said people with knowledge of the matter, on the second day of auctions. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) mopped up a total Rs 44,075 crore for the rights over the next five years, they said. The board will make an official announcement after completing auctions of all four rights packages.

Senior executives with direct knowledge of developments told ET that the TV rights for India, or package A, was won by DisneyStar for Rs 57.5 crore per match, or a total Rs 23,575 crore for 410 matches over five years. Package B–India subcontinent digital rights–went to

Industries-controlled Viacom18 for Rs 50 crore per match, adding up to a total Rs 20,500 crore. Together, the rights have been bought for Rs 107.5 crore per match for the 2023-2027 cycle.

The reserve price for TV and digital rights was Rs 49 crore and Rs 33 crore per match, respectively.

This sum is more than twice the Rs 16,347.5 crore that DisneyStar had paid in the last rights auction for a five-year period at Rs 54.5 crore per match. To be sure, that was for 60 matches per year.

As predicted by experts polled by ET, the auction did not see over-aggressive bidding, with just one more bid coming in for TV rights on day two, while the digital package didn’t get any new bids Monday and ended at Rs 48 crore per match. Subsequently, the winner of package A, DisneyStar, challenged Viacom18 for the digital rights with a counter bid of Rs 49 crore per match. Viacom18 trumped that with a bid of Rs 50 crore.

The auctions for package C–non-exclusive India digital rights (18 matches)– started Monday evening and will resume Tuesday at 11 am, followed by package D (rest of the world). On Monday night, the last bid for package C was for Rs 18.5 crore per match, as against the base price of Rs 16 crore.

Sports marketing experts said that the TV advertising rates will have to go up to over Rs 20 lakh per 10 seconds to break even, based on the DisneyStar bid.

“In the last five years, DisneyStar has grown the ad revenues from an average of Rs 7 lakh to Rs 14.5 lakh in the last season, but overall, they may still have made some loss,” an expert said. “Now, it will have to go to over Rs 20 lakh and the distribution revenue will also have to come in to make money.”

As for digital, recovering Rs 50 crore per match may be difficult with advertising and subscription revenues, the person said.

ET had first reported on June 11 that there were only four bidders for the India packages–DisneyStar, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), Viacom18 and

(ZEE).

Experts said Viacom18 would have to acquire package C to ensure there’s no advertising revenue leakage.

“While it will not bid from the start, Viacom18 will ultimately challenge the winner of package C to acquire the rights, so that those matches remain exclusive to Viacom18’s digital platforms,” one of them said.