Final Placements – Class of 2012 : The big test for the IIMs

The final placement season of 2012 will be the big test for the IIMs and other top business schools in India. Let me list down the reasons below:

1)     Batch Size: Class of 2010-12 was the first batch where across all IIMs the full implementation of the OBC quota was done. Hence, batch sizes increased and became largest ever across most IIMs. 49.5% reserved category seats (OBC/SC/ST/PWD). Over 500 more graduates from the 10 top institutions featured on this website will graduate this year as against the Class of 2011.

2)     Cost of the programme: The total cost of the PGP/PGDM programme also increased across institutes. Class of 2012 will pay about 3 times more than the Class of 2008 for the same programme. EMIs approaching Rs.25, 000. Whether the increased fee has led to any appreciable improvement in the quality of education imparted is debatable but it has surely helped to upgrade infrastructure in a lot of institutions. It has also led to the top IIMs getting autonomy.

3)     Economy: Uncertain economic situation. Certain big names are sure to be missing from placement reports this year especially in Banking & Finance. Given that hiring was robust in 2011 and that growth in FY 2012-13 is expected to drop, it will be interesting to see if companies continue to hire in large numbers.

Given below is some data which should help you appreciate the magnitude of the concern in many quarters. Given below are the details of the Class of 2012. Batch Size and cost of programme. Click on table to enlarge. 

 

ISB is a one year programme so one starts earning faster although the cost is almost twice that of the IIMs. Harvard Business School figures have been put in out of my own academic interest.

The above salary scenarios are just illustrative. They do not include perquisites and non-cash benefits which may be part of CTC but do not affect cash in hand. You will also appreciate how the same take home salary can bring out varied emotions for people based out of different cities. For e.g. Cost of living in Mumbai vs. Cost of living  in Hyderabad/Gurgaon . Let me not even get into quality of living!

Companies

I hope companies account for all this when designing compensation plans and even campus recruitment strategy this year. There is no point recruiting from top institutions and getting people who are forever going to be unhappy about the money they get. Companies are increasingly going to find new joinees already stuck in the web of debt and the ever-expanding aspiration for owning and consuming latest products will ensure they take on more debt. Large batch sizes force people to accept jobs they don’t really want. And then, in the first year itself they desperately try to switch to another better paying and more glamorous job. It is an absolute waste of time and money for the company. They would rather go to places where expectations are better managed and education loan debt is not that high.

Take the case of a 26-year old fresh graduate with a monthly take home of Rs.75,000 with an education loan EMI of Rs.20,000, Rent (shared flat), Food & other living expenses of Rs.20,000 per month in Mumbai. Add another Rs.5,000 for miscellaneous expenses. Now if he sends some money home to parents, there is barely any left for him to save. He plans to marry this year and soon his rent will go up by Rs.15,000. Suddenly, it does not look as good as it sounds when one first read the attention grabbing salary figures in leading newspapers of India.

Companies need to take note of this changing environment and hence the expectations of fresh graduates.

(However, having said all of this I must still admit that management graduates from top institutions in India should consider themselves fortunate. There is just too much poverty in this country for anyone of us to complain)

Students and Campuses

If you’re a student in any of the business schools, you need to ask your placement committee to give you the exact compensation structure. You must know your monthly post-tax takeaway after all deductions. By just saying compensation is 16 lakhs ($32,000) does not help. The devil is in the details and make sure you have the details or else you may be in for a rude shock after seeing your first salary slip.

According to my estimate there is a great possibility that about 30% of the Class of 2012 will not save more than Rs.25, 000 after paying their educational loan EMI, House Rent and Food per month. A major revision across sectors and domains will be needed.

Needless to say, past record says that if you’re in IIM ABC you’re better off even if you’re an average student in your school. There is just way too much that companies are willing to offer in these schools because of extra-ordinary alumni linkage. There are companies that recruit over 15 people in each of the 3 schools and are not willing to even look at resumes of people from anywhere else. (Why some companies are willing to fight for someone in the top 200 at IIM A vs. someone in the top 20 at IIM L, I, K, XLRI, FMS etc. is an interesting question but is beyond the scope of this article. May be we’ll write on it later)

Perhaps from all the schools listed above, the biggest test will be for my alma mater IIM Indore. It has aggressively hiked course fees citing better infrastructure, better course content, experiential learning etc. (MP Rural immersion, Himalayan adventure trip for strategy, Malaysia industrial trip are examples but students are expected to pay some part even for these trips) Moreover it has also gone all out to be the largest IIM in terms of batch size – 450 for the Class of 2012 from 240 for the Class of 2011. If they can pull off good quality placements for majority of the batch (i.e. in my opinion over 350 students) they would have done something quite extraordinary given the institution is only 15 years old. Looking at the economic situation at this point, it looks like an uphill task though.

Purely, from a return on investment perspective it is a great time to be in FMS Delhi or JBIMS Mumbai. Even if you don’t get the best job on these campuses you will still be in the position to be able to easily service your EMI and still save enough for the future and make merry in the city you work. I am not sure one even needs an education loan if one is at FMS Delhi. I would much rather be an average student in FMS Delhi/JBIMS  than be an average one in IIM L,I,K,XLRI,SPJIMR.

After analyzing a lot of this data, I’m even more convinced that its time placements are handled by professionals and not students. There is just way too much at stake for it to be run by students any further. (You may want to read : 5 reasons why student run placements should give way to CDC)

One may wonder why a post-graduate management degree is needed at all. Why can’t I just work my way up or even do something else? Unfortunately, India is the perfect example where Sir Ken Robinson’s term applies – Academic Inflation. And if I may add one more word before it – ‘Restrictive’ Academic inflation. You can only rise above a certain point in the organization if you are a post-graduate degree holder. And the word ‘restrictive’ kicks in because certain people over the years have ensured that only management degree holders from select institutions get access to certain jobs.

Entrepreneurship

The only sure shot way to beat all this is by choosing to be an entrepreneur. No one can say you can’t do business because you’re not from a particular school. All the above analysis becomes irrelevant. You neither worry about the batch size nor the average salaries or monthly take home.

You can choose to be an entrepreneur even after getting a management degree. However, the top institutions need to step in here. A few have introduced concepts like placement holiday and a few brave ones have even given a fee waiver/refund. Such support will go a long way in ensuring entrepreneurship is encouraged and does not get killed in the web of EMIs.

I have tried to make some sense of the environment at present with the help of some data and my little experience and intuition. Readers must note that though we are using parameters like ROI, EMI etc. above management education should not only be looked at from the lens of placements and money. There are a lot of other things to it which various writers on this website have tried to talk about as well.

I wish all the business schools the best for the Class of 2012 final placements. Let’s hope there’s more peace and less heartburn. Above all, I hope the graduation of Class of 2012 results in many more start-ups and exciting ventures. And if nothing, then social leaders like him.

– Ankit Doshi

(I would like to thank Lakshmanan Ganesh for helping build the EMI calculations. He is from the Class of 2011 at IIM Indore and works with ITC Limited)

(The author is an alumnus of IIM Indore –  Class of 2011 and Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics,Mumbai –  Class of 2007.  He currently works with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and has worked with TATA Capital and WhatsonIndia.com  in the past. He still believes that ‘Umang’ NM College’s festival was the best thing to have happened to him where he led a team of 500 students)

 

If you are preparing for Summer Placements or Final Placements, please have a look at our Career Guide – The InsideIIM Career Guide

 

You may also like to read :

Summer Placements 2011-13 – IIM Bangalore

Summer Placements 2011-13 – IIM Lucknow

Summer Placements 2011-13 – IIM Kozhikode

Summer Placements 2011-13 – XLRI Jamshedpur

Summer Placements 2011-13 – FMS Delhi

 

Our facebook page : InsideIIM

Follow us on twitter here : @InsideIIM

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Switch Out Of Airtel – The Story of How Airtel Duped Me

It has always been a pain dealing with Airtel Customer Service. I have a prepaid connection and 2 Internet 4G Routers. Until recently, I bore the brunt of bad service and even worse resolution of issues because I didn’t have an option. I have donated a lot of money to Airtel despite their ineptitude. However, my recent experience with Airtel told me that Airtel isn’t incompetent as much as it wants to con people of their money. This is the final straw. I am going to make sure I discourage people from signing up for Airtel and also ensure that people switch out.

I travel abroad at least twice a year. In order to ensure I have connectivity at all times I signed up for the INR 4011/- offer from Airtel. (Check the Image below)

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 09.42.11

I paid the amount and got a confirmation only to be sent a message saying my main account didn’t have balance and they needed to charge me a rent so I should recharge some money there. I recharged with INR 500/-. The service didn’t work. It didn’t work for the entire period  of my stay. I recharged for various amount to make it work based Airtel’s messages and it didn’t work. I had already paid Airtel over INR 5000/- by now. I complained on Twitter. No response. I wrote to customer care. No response. Finally, I wrote to the Nodal Officer at Airtel for Mumbai circle. (Always remember to write to Nodal officers in telecom companies. It’s always worked for me.)

The resolution offered to me by the Nodal officer was that they would transfer the INR 5000/- back in to my account. I agreed immediately. However, I realised later that all they did was add INR 5000/- to my Airtel Main Balance account and not refund it to my card account. Here is what the problem is, I recharged for international roaming, a service  which Airtel wasn’t able to provide me. Now they want me to use the INR 5000/- for a service I did not sign up for! 

Moreover, despite writing to the Appellate Authority (supposed to be the highest escalation you can do at a company) the only response I kept getting is that there is no provision to refund money. This is a nice way to extort money from people. Get them to pay for a service you can’t deliver. Then tell them that we can’t pay you your money back so use some other service of ours. This is wrong on all levels. (Funnily, the person responding from both Nodal office and the Appellate Authority office is the same – Mr. Mohit Goswami. This means the Appellate Authority and Escalation Matrix is a joke at Airtel. I’m sure TRAI would be thrilled to know this if they do care. The Mailbox of Airtel Appellate Authority becomes full routinely. Imagine the number of complaints!)

However, here is where this situation becomes even worse. Tired of this, I decided to Port my number. I sent a SMS on 1900 to PORT out of Airtel to Jio. I get a call from Airtel offering me unlimited calling at INR 149/- for one year to make me stay. As I discovered during that day, Calling in India has become practically free. Every telecom network is offering insanely cheap plans to retain customers. For e.g. at INR 499/- Airtel Postpaid customers get Unlimited calling and Unlimited data.  If you’re paying a single rupee more than this to Airtel, my suggestion is to get your plan changed or PORT to Jio or any other provider offering a better plan. 

In this scenario, Airtel is forcing me to use and pay for a service which is FREE across India including their own network or costs 1.5% of the cost they want me to pay for it. They even refuse to deduct the balance in my account and give me data instead which they are distributing at pittance to stop customers from switching to Jio. Also, if I PORT my number I lose the balance in my account anyway.

If this is not cheating and a malpractice what is?

A lot of people have asked me why I’m raising such a hue and cry for a small amount of INR 5000/-. My response is that INR 5000/- is not a small amount in my eyes. As a CEO of a profitable start-up I know that more than anyone else. Also, this needs to stop. If customers keep donating money to big companies who fleece them without raising a voice it will encourage more Sales heads to encourage such practices so that they can reach their Sales target.

I will try to reach as many people as I can through this platform. Next goal is to reach someone at TRAI but before that make sure this piece reaches IIM Calcutta alumnus and CEO of Airtel Gopal Vittal. I have also filed a complaint with Department of Telecom here.

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

CAT Takers – Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

This is for all those who take themselves too seriously.  All those who think that their performance in CAT is what will define them for the rest of their life.

Take it easy.

None of this anxiety is worth it. It will neither help you on Sunday nor is it helping you right now trying to gear up for the test.

There are a million ways to excel and be happy in life. Taking CAT is just one of those million ways. If it works out – great. If it doesn’t – you still have another million ways (minus one).

There are some great people I know who cracked the CAT. But there are many more really great people I know who have failed at CAT or have never even attempted it. Less than 0.017% of India takes the test. What is the big deal?

I know someone who ‘failed’ the CAT 4 times. He scored 99%ile+ 2 out of 4 times. He did not get a call for various reasons – sectional cutoff once, acads one other time. He ended up going to one of the world’s top business schools through GMAT and then got into the world’s most famous consulting firm.

There is someone else who couldn’t score even 80%ile in CAT but has bootstrapped his venture to 10 crores of revenue with a 50 member team.

So, the world is not going to end if Sunday doesn’t go as per plan. Relax. Don’t make the test or your performance in it as the centre of your life.

 

I am not saying stop preparing. I am not saying you should lose focus. I am not saying you should break your routine. You got to do what you got to do.

Do not throttle yourself by giving the test too much importance. Don’t let it bog you down. Don’t complicate.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Be free. Attempt the test fearlessly. Give it only as much respect as it deserves.

 

If you guys want to have a chat with me about MBA, CAT, exam anxiety, Football, Arsenal, Cricket, Politics or anything else I’m available for an hour long chat today evening from 6 pm to 7 pm here.

 

 

————-

About the Author:

Ankit Doshi – IIM Indore alumnus – Class of 2011 and Creator of InsideIIM.com & Konversations.com. Ankit scored 99.7 percentile in CAT 2008 after not cracking it in 2007. He is a commerce graduate and not an engineer.

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author

Star Sports’ Short-Sighted Football Broadcast Strategy In India

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author