Meta, Reliance Jio, Airtel jump on World Cup hype

Everyone from tech companies to telcos are jumping on the ICC Cricket World Cup bandwagon to increase engagement. On Friday, telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel announced special plans to woo cricket lovers. Jio rolled out special pre-paid plans bundled with subscriptions to Disney+Hotstar, while Bharti Airtel launched cheaper rates on unlimited data for one to two days.

Telcos are not the sole players to jump on the World Cup hype. Even though Disney Star is the sole broadcaster with the rights to air the World Cup on streaming services or linear television, other platforms are also using World Cup content to boost engagement.

Creator campaign

On Thursday, Meta announced a partnership with ICC to expand World Cup coverage. It is believed to be the largest ever creator campaign for an ICC tournament involving over 500 creators that will create “immersive behind the scenes” content on the tournament to be shared on Meta’s platforms such as Reels, WhatsApp Channels, Instagram broadcast channels, etc.

The World Cup, which was last hosted by India in 2011, is set to be a broadcasting spectacle. Disney Star expects to earn ₹3,800 to ₹4,000 crore from ad revenues. The broadcaster has also claimed that “it will be bigger than any other tournament when it comes to viewership and ad volume.”

Live scorecard

Therefore it is no surprise that other players in the market are announcing World Cup related partnerships to grab market share. JioCinema, which nabbed the rights to stream Indian Premier League for the next five years from Disney Star, is running a live scorecard for the World Cup — even though it does not have the rights to stream the World Cup.

Ajimon Francis, Managing Director at Brand Finance says that these tactics by competitors are being done in hopes to boost their market share. “There is not going be be a significant boost, as far as advertiser revenue is concerned. But these strategies increase engagement, which allows them to to gain traction on their other offerings such as WhatsApp payments and such.”

Francis conjectures that if entities like Meta see good engagement from their creator campaign, they could also start selling merchandise using WhatsApp payments, which has not taken off in India. “All these tactics help companies in increasing their market share,” Francis explained. 

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