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dittoTV to stream Hero Indian League; Viable?

Online video streaming platform dittoTV will stream the Hero Indian League (I-League) football matches on its platform reports IndianTelevision.com. According to the report, subscribers of dittoTV can view the matches on TEN1HD to watch the matches live.

Interestingly, the matches can be live streamed on TenSports.com as well. Note that Ten Sports was actually sold by the Zee group (which owns dittoTV) to Sony a few months ago. Sports attracts users. It is not clear though how the financial terms will work between dittoTV and Ten1HD (Sony owned) to stream this content. That said, it is also interesting that dittoTV continues to stream the live content from Ten Sports, considering that Sony has Sony LIV, which streams content from Sony’s properties like ESPN, Sony Six.

Arrangement between Zee Group and Sony?

This isn’t the first time that Zee’s dittoTV is streaming something on Sony owned TenSports’ network channel. In November 2016, dittoTV had streamed the Zimbabwe-Sri Lanka-West Indies tri-series cricket matches. The series was streamed live on Ten1HD and was also available on dittoTV. Zee television seems also have a similar engagement for the streaming of UEFA League which is being streamed live on dittoTV, 380 games spanned across 9 months. Subscribers can watch it on TEN1HD channel. However, the financial details of these deals are not clear.

The dittoTV app is available on Android and iOS platforms, with a monthly subscription charge of Rs. 20, 3 month subscription at Rs. 60, 6 months at Rs. 120 and an annual plan at Rs. 240. The same subscription is valid across all devices.

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Will exclusive rights to sporting content really help?

From a TEN sports perspective, acquiring exclusive digital rights to sporting events could be a customer acquisition strategy but it comes at a high cost.  While it could make sense to stream a global sporting event like the UEFA League with a larger audience on the platform, it may not be so for an India specific football tournament. Though the costs may be lesser in this case with football compared to a more popular sport like cricket, it would also come with smaller audience base in India. Owing to the larger audience base, at least cricket as a sporting event could be used to attempt advertising as a revenue stream in the past. Technically, even that hasn’t picked up much either. Owning exclusive rights to sporting events has several problems:

  • Firstly, users may come on board for one match or the series, but what next? Will they come back to the platform without another game? What will make them come back? With on-demand content, users allegiance tends to be, largely with the content and not the platform.
  • The shelf-life of any live event is low considering that the content is time sensitive. Unlike movie or music content, users may not come back to an watch an old match.
  • Finally, sporting events cannot be the sole revenue generator for platforms. Hence the need to diversify even beyond entertainment content like movie and music content which are usually owned by someone else. Now platforms are looking to create original content.

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