Star India seems to have introduced subscription based live streaming of Cricket and Football sporting events on its sports website Starsports.com, reports Virtual Thoughts. The site previously offered free live streaming of cricket content since its beta launch in January 2013, although it had then stated plans to charge a fee for users to access the content.
At the time of writing this article, the site offers three types of packages – Day Pass (Rs 50) which allows users to watch all live matches on the site for the day, Monthly pass (Rs 500) which allows users to watch all live matches for the month and tournament based season passes which allows users to watch all the matches in a specific cricket or football tournament.
It currently offers season passes for cricket tournaments like Australia-England ODI series & the upcoming Champions League T20 and football tournaments like La Liga & Barclays Premier League (BPL). Besides this, it also offers a football season pass (Rs 800) which includes live streaming of all BPL Matches and select La Liga & Serie A matches.
Users can watch these matches on Starsports website and its mobile apps across Android and iOS, however note that live streaming is limited to select regions outside India, depending on the tournament’s licensing restrictions. The site offers all the regular payment options like credit and debit cards, net banking, IMPS and cash cards.
In-App Subscriptions: One can also purchase tournament based season passes from the mobile apps via in-app purchases, strangely however, we noticed that the mobile apps offer slightly different pricing as compared to the website. For instance, the Australia-England ODI series is priced at Rs 110 on the app and Rs 100 on the website, while the football season pass is priced at Rs 790 on the app and Rs 800 on the website. Also, we wonder why Star Sports doesn’t offer day passes and monthly passes through its app.
New Football Section: Besides this, Star Sports has also added a new Football section which offers match fixtures, live scores and results and news from various football leagues. Similar to the cricket section, it also offers recent matches on-demand with live text commentary and allows users to choose between full replays or highlights of S matches.
During the matches, one can view various match related information like team lineup, player stats, team stats, team passes and a heatmap of team tactics among others, as an overlay over the video.
Will people pay? It will be interesting to see if and how this paid livestreaming work in India. Remember that there is a value in immediacy in sports events, which is lost once a game finishes. Therefore, fans are more likely to pay for watching a great game in progress, than go home and watch highlights on TV.
In the past, cricket and football events have been free to watch, and monetized with advertising, since the general assumption has been that it’s easier to scale monetization via advertising than trying to get enough paying subscribers to cover even costs. Our guess is that no such business has yet made a profit, whether Neo Sports, with its CricketNirvana initiative, or YouTube and then Times Internet Limited with the IPL or the now defunct iStream with UEFA 2012. Hence, we wonder how this will fare for Star India?