The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to commence on March 31 with a high-voltage encounter between the defending champions Gujarat Titans and four-time winners Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Year after year, the T20 league has delivered on its promise of providing unmatchable cricketing entertainment to fans. This year too there are several reasons to look forward to the biggest cricket league in the world and surely one of those is a brand new digital streaming partner for the competition.
While Disney-Star held the digital streaming as well the TV broadcastings rights of one of the world’s most watched sporting event in 2018, Reliance Viacom 18 outbid Disney to acquire the digital streaming rights of the tournament from 2023-27. They paid INR 23,800 crore to bag the digital rights, which is INR 200 crore more than what their rivals had bid to get the broadcasting contract.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that even though Mukesh Ambani’s group was also interested in getting the television broadcast rights, they predict a limited opportunity of growth in that realm which implied they let that deal go to their competitior. And now with a Jio 5G network in place already and the streaming rights of the IPL also to their credit, the quality of IPL live stream is all set to undergo a drastic improvement to attract maximum users on board.
IPL matches to be live streamed in 4K for first time
For the first time ever in the Indian sporting ecosystem, IPL matches will be live streamed in 4K or ultra-high-definition. In addition, Jio is planning to offer the fans an agency to choose for themselves the camera angle they deem best, something which will be known as an interactive live stream. The tournament can be live streamed in 12 languages.
“Because of the gigabit speed of JioAir Fiber, we can now deliver not only one video stream but multiple video streams showing multiple camera angles at the same time live. That too in ultra-high-definition (4K). We can dynamically choose which camera angle we want to focus on while having a preview of multiple live video streams simultaneously. It makes all the sports truly immersive,” Akash Ambani, Director & Head of Strategy at Reliance Jio, had said at the Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) Annual General Meeting last year.
Other than the abovementioned features, IPL’s digital streaming will provide fans with real-time match statistics like wagon wheels and worm-graphs to further enhance the viewing experience. While offering a free IPL streaming will definitely increase JioCinema’s active users, it would be interesting to see Viacom 18’s plan with Voot which holds a very small market share and whether it positively influences its revenue in the long run.