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Updated: Indiatimes’ IPL 4 Partnerships: YouTube, vRock, Apalya, Indiagames Say Sources

Update: Some parts of this report stand confirmed. We’ll update as more confirmations come in. We’ve added updates to the segments below.

April 8th: With the Indian Premier League kicking off today, Indiatimes* took over the full front page of the groups flagship print publication the Times of India: the front and back page promoted the IPL, while the inside page was a full page advertisement for gaana.com. We’ve heard from sources that Indiatimes has planned a Rs. 25-30 crore spend on advertising various IPL related initiatives. Remember that the Indiatimes led consortium has paid Rs. 261.7 crore for rights for four years – worldwide online and mobile rights, and international broadcast rights with Nimbus.

We wrote to Indiatimes yesterday for a confirmation or denial of their IPL deals, but got no response. A text message to Indiatimes CEO Rishi Khiani today, and a call to an Indiatimes spokesperson hasn’t yielded any information. In the absence of a confirmation or denial, we have the following industry source based information, subject to change in case we get confirmations or denials:

– Online live streaming rights: Are with Indiatimes, but a deal has been inked with YouTube as well, with live streaming will be on an Indiatimes channel on YouTube. We’ve heard that Indiatimes might be selling online advertising on its YouTube live streaming channel, which would be unprecedented. Remember that in comparison with last year, when YouTube had announced the deal in January, and had sufficient time to sell inventory, but this year, there has hardly been any time. Google executives we contacted, as well as Google corp-com declined to comment.
Update: Non exclusive partnership between Google and Indiatimes, for two years, with simultaneous live streams on both ipl.indiatimes.com and on its dedicated YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/ indiatimes, as well as clips. We noticed that Google’s streams had issues last night, while Indiatimes worked fine. YouTube also gets clips on mobile – http://m.youtube.com. There’s a five minute delay in India, a match-length delay in the US, and live webcast for Rest of The World. Note that there’s no confirmation of the inventory sales partnership.

SMS, MMS and IVR rights, off deck: are with Indiatimes at its short code 58888, with telecom operator billing with all telecom operators.

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– SMS, MMS and IVR rights, on deck: Are with vRock Mobile. vRock had comprehensive SMS, MMS and IVR rights last year. We’ve heard that they’ve reached a settlement with the IPL and Indiatimes, and have on-deck rights (white labeled with telecom operators) for SMS, MMS and IVR, sublicensed through Indiatimes. Some sources have said that they’ve retained all the rights, but we’ve heard multiple insider views to the contrary. We’ve not received a response from vRock confirming or denying these developments.

– Mobile Live streaming: A deal with Apalya for live streaming on mobile has almost been inked, with last minute talks in progress. Apalya CEO Vamshi Reddy declined to comment on anything, and said he’d call us back. When we contacted an Indiatimes sales representative in charge of mobile at 10:25 am today, they said that the mobile live streaming rights are being sub-licensed, and are in talks with multiple players, but did not name the entity.

– Mobile video on demand: we’re told that Indiatimes is retaining mobile video on demand rights, but will be working with partners, including YouTube and Vuclip.

– Gaming: We believe talks are on with Indiagames, though we haven’t been able to confirm whether a deal has been inked yet. Indiagames had the rights last year, and has multiple Cricket based games for smart phones.

* Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama

IPL 3 Partners

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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