Ahead of the World Cup 2015, Times Internet* seems to have merged its cricket site GoCricket with the recently bought Cricbuzz. GoCricket’s website is currently redirecting to Cricbuzz at the time of writing this article. The company had also merged the mobile apps of GoCricket & Cricbuzz earlier this month and had started alerting GoCricket’s Twitter followers to follow Cricbuzz instead last week.
Hey cricket fan, now follow us @cricbuzz. Get your fill of all the happenings in cricket, plus blazing fast scores and commentary.
— gocricket.com (@gocricketnow) January 19, 2015
This was quite an expected move, since Times Internet had said that it will be merging Cricbuzz with its eight-month old cricket site GoCricket, after acquiring a majority stake in Cricbuzz in November last year. At the time, Times Internet had also said that it will be using Cricbuzz’s expertise in the cricket segment along with its editorial content across text, photos, and videos to build a “great user experience around cricket”.
Besides editorial, it’s worth noting that Cricbuzz also has a services business, wherein it provides Cricket scores to multiple entities, including portals, mobile VAS companies and telecom operators.
Star India vs Cricbuzz
Interestingly, this acquisition happened at a time when Cricbuzz was battling against Star India over reporting of Cricket Scores. Star India had taken Cricbuzz founder Piyush Agarwal to court, along with OnMobile in September 2012 and the case is now at the Supreme Court of India, after STAR had lost at the division bench level. Star India had also filed a fresh case against CricBuzz in March last year. To understand how STAR is claiming rights over Cricket scores, read this. MediaNama’s stand on this issue, and why we’re worried about this case is detailed here.
On the other hand, Times Internet had partnered STAR India for digital distribution of IPL last year, which incidentally was the last year for which Times Internet had the rights. BCCI called for a fresh auction of its media rights last week and one would expect STAR India to bid for these rights, considering the investments it is making in Cricket, right from buying BCCI rights to sponsoring the Indian Cricket Team.
To us, this acquisition meant that Times Internet is putting its money behind the group’s core competency i.e. reporting rather than acquiring rights for streaming exclusive content. This also means that The Times Of India group has now joined the battle with STAR India, over the ownership of Cricket scores, and the freedom for media businesses to provide live commentary. More on that here.
*Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with Medianama