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With focus on promoting ‘Prime’ in India, Amazon India joins the race for IPL broadcasting rights

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Betting big on its burgeoning presence in the country, Amazon India has reportedly made a bid for obtaining the digital rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament. The move can be seen as a clear attempt on the company’s part to find more purchase and footholds in the country for its ‘Prime’ service.

On Sunday, BCCI  — also known as the Board of Control for Cricket in India  — announced that it will be awarding the television broadcasting rights for the IPL for the next 10 years and the digital media rights for five years. The tenders were opened on the 18th of  September and the competitive bidding process is expected to close on the 25th October.

And that’ where Amazon India comes in. The company is one of the first global entities to have exhibited an interest in buying the broadcasting rights of the tournament. The company is probably aware of the huge interest generated by the series and is looking to turn a profit by purchasing the television rights for the same. However, Amazon India’s road to IPL rights isn’t going to be easy.  The company is liable to face stiff competition from Sony Pictures Network and Star India Pvt Ltd, among others.

Both Sony and Star are television majors in their own rights and have traditionally battled it out between themselves for the broadcasting rights to many major tournaments, including IPL. Indeed, Sony currently holds the IPL rights. However, with Amazon India’s entry, things might just be about to change. Even if Amazon India is unable to win this time, the bid alone is a clear indication of the burgeoning global interest.

Also, with Amazon, it will be more a question of how much money the company is willing to put in into its efforts in this particular direction. Backed by Amazon, the company has no dearth of cash. However, video content in India is still something pretty new to it, so Amazon’s India subsidiary may or may not battle it out with the other contenders, at this point.

The company has already launched its Amazon Prime membership in over 100 Indian cities. While the company has begun delivering upon its promise of one-day and two-day deliveries, it is working to build up and augment a roster of video content. The IPL, with its impression based viewer-base of over a billion, is probably amongst some of the best video content, to let Amazon India hit the ground running.

Regardless of the winner of the bids though, the biggest winner is the BCCI, who is probably feeling more than pleased by the interest being exhibited in the tournament. In all likelihood, they are going to be significantly richer, by the time the bidding process finally concludes.

At present, IPL’s TV broadcast rights are held by Sony Pictures Networks Pvt. Ltd. However, they are set to expire next year, after the conclusion of IPL’s 10th edition. Meanwhile, the Internet and mobile rights are held by Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, a unit of Star India, until 2017.


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