Prime Video gets into advertising game, sells sponsorship for India-NZ series – Exchange4Media

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The platform has roped in Airtel Xstream Fibre as the presenting sponsor and MPL, Nescafé, Noise, OLX Autos, and Vida as associate sponsors. Brands like AMFI and DBS joined as advertisers

Prime Video has signed six sponsors and two advertisers for its upcoming India men’s tour of New Zealand. This is the first time that Prime Video is entering into a sponsorship with the series. 
“India men’s tour of New Zealand will be the first live cricket series on Prime Video to feature advertisements, helping brands reach Prime Video’s premium base of highly engaged customers, spread across the country,” the streaming platform shared in a press release. 
While speaking to exchange4media, Chaitanya Divan, Head of Sports, Prime Video, India, shared, “We already have an Amazon advertising business, which works very closely with many partner brands. And one thing we’ve been hearing from these partner brands is, they really want the ability to communicate with Prime Video customers – it’s an extremely attractive audience for advertisers. And now we are in a position to do that. It’s, of course, made easier because of the fact that cricket as a format, allows for seamless integration of advertising and sponsorship messages.”
The platform has roped in Airtel Xstream Fiber as the presenting sponsor of the broadcast featuring the six limited overs international matches. Consumer brands like MPL, Nescafé, Noise, OLX Autos, and Vida have come on board as associate sponsors. Additionally, AMFI and DBS have also been confirmed advertisers.
Divan noted that they want to be careful about one thing that comes from customer research: fans love watching live cricket, but what seems to detract from this experience, particularly in the last 10-15 years, is the number of commercial messages they see on screen. “We want to maintain a very high bar on customer experience. As a result, we will limit the number of advertisements that fans will see during the live match. We’ve made sure to strike a balance between the customer experience and the expectations of advertisers.”  
Prime Video has only two categories- presenting and associate sponsor category. Beyond the sponsorship categories, there will again be an ad inventory, which will be sold only to select partner brands that want to reach a premium Prime member base.  
“The response from advertisers has been overwhelming. They appreciate the fact that they are now able to reach this premium customer base in an extremely low-clutter environment. As a result, advertisers have embraced and valued this. And I’m pleased to announce that we have sold out of all of our sponsorship categories. Some of the ad inventory, which is outside of sponsorships, is still available, and we are in touch with a few brands for that as well,” informed Divan. 
Prime Video will deliver live commentary,  match-programming, and graphics in English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. Former captains and cricketers like Ravi Shastri, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Gundappa Viswanath, Anjum Chopra, Venkatpathy Raju, among others, will be bringing the matches alive with their insightful commentary in different languages.  
Prime Video will also offer an English language live one-hour pre-show before each game. The mid-innings break will feature a 15 minute show which will be a recap of the first innings and preview of the second. The live programming also involves a 30-minute post-match presentation and analysis by Prime Video’s stable of cricket experts.
Sushant Sreeram, Director – SVOD Business, Prime Video, India said, “Our customers’ experience has been an important area of focus for us. Prime Video is streamed by customers across the length and breadth of the country, across more than 99% of pin codes. Customers choose to access us from a variety of devices. When we think about what a live cricket experience needs to be, we need to keep in mind the fact that we’re going to have so many people from across the country tuning in all at the same time to watch this series. And they’re going to be doing it from a device of their choice. So, it required us to really build an extremely robust solutions to make sure that the experience of watching live cricket on Prime Video is at par, if not better than what they’ve experienced when it comes to our shows and movies.” 
He further added, “We had to really maintain a very high bar on that, especially considering the massive heterogeneity of the country – be it choice of language, genres of shows and movies or devices.” 
Curating a new viewing experience for live sports, Prime Video will offer customers new features like in-game language selector and “Rapid Recap”. The in-game language selector will allow customers to change language (e.g., English to Hindi) seamlessly without exiting the player. 
“Over the years, Prime Video has offered compelling content through original series and movies. We have given close to 50 originals and 60 DTS movies in the last few years and the success that we’ve seen in India is primarily driven by the authentic and deeply rooted stories that we are offering our customers. We do recognize that cricket is a massive unifier in India. Though we’ve done the English Premier League and NFL, cricket comes with its own unique opportunities,” said Divan.  
He further added, “We intend to deeply localise the cricket experience for our customers in India. We will provide audio commentary and graphics in five languages: English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. Customers will thus be able to select the language in which they wish to watch the match.” 
Divan also shared that Prime Video has been creating programming, which is like a wrapper for the live match and that will include pre, mid and post-match shows. He added that it won’t be in a four-wall studio setting but live at the match instead, taking fans really close to the action. “That’s how we are building out this whole experience of live sports,” said Divan. 
The limited overs series will include three T20s and one-day internationals (ODIs) between November 18 and November 30. T20 matches begin at 11 a.m. (IST), while ODIs begin at 6 a.m. (IST). While getting users to watch matches early in the morning has always been difficult, Divan is optimistic that the series will have high viewership because the New Zealand Cricket Board has scheduled most of the matches on weekends.
“We obviously heard that question from our advertisers as well. We anticipated it and worked closely with the New Zealand Cricket Board and did two things with them. For starters, we’ve scheduled the majority of the matches on weekends. As a result, four of the six matches are scheduled for Fridays and Sundays.” 
He further added, “Our coverage starts at 6 AM for the ODIs and the match starts at 7 am. So, it’s actually a daytime match from an Indian viewer’s point of view. And for the T20I matches, coverage starts at 11 am, match starts at 12pm. Again, this is in the middle of the day. So, we’re expecting very high viewership, because of the support that we’ve got from New Zealand Cricket as well.”
While speaking about the series, Sreeram said that it’s a pivotal moment in their journey as Prime Video in India. “We have some interesting marketing campaigns that teams have built out, that really shine a light on the history these two teams share. We have customers streaming across the country and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we expect all of India to be tuning into this series, and we are fully prepared for this.”
He added that the platform is working towards a meaningful advertising experience for fans, customers, and advertising partners. Everything from limiting the ad load, keeping the entire sponsorship simple and making sure that we have opportunities for these advertisers to engage with Prime Video fans. “All of these things are really what we are obsessed about delivering on. And at the end of the day, if fans come back and tell us that was actually an immersive experience, and if our partners come back and tell us that was great, we would definitely want to keep doing this. That to me is a stronger marker of long-term success than just some specific numbers related to this series.”
As a part of the multi-year partnership, international men’s and women’s cricket matches played in New Zealand across all formats – will be available exclusively on Prime Video India. 
Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)
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