Planetcast Media Services, a leading provider of broadcast technology and media services in India and Southeast Asia, announces that it has been chosen as a media services partner by Indian Premier League (IPL) rights holders Star Sports (domestic TV broadcast), Viacom18 (domestic OTT on JioCinema), and Times Internet. (international via Cricbuzz).
Planetcast adds extensive cricket video experience to its collaborations with Star Sports, Viacom18, and Times Internet, having served as the IPL’s media distribution backbone for the majority of its 16-year history.
Planetcast has pioneered a slew of innovations to help rightsholders meet new IPL audience demands, from near-real-time ad insertion to AI-based instant highlight creation to supporting the first 4K production since its inception by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. (BCCI).
The league’s matchday coverage is one of the most complex in the world, with simultaneous matches aired and streamed across multiple channels and OTT services in multiple languages.
“It is hugely gratifying that IPL rightsholders have once again put their trust in Planetcast to ensure their coverage is breaking new ground while being delivered seamlessly around the world,” says Sanjay Duda, Planetcast Media Services’ Chief Executive Officer. “The work we’ve done at IPL matches almost every season since the first in 2008 has enabled Planetcast to build a reputation for handling incredibly complex and valuable live events. With the IPL now the world’s second most expensive sports rights on a per-match basis – just behind the NFL – media leaders like Star Sports, Viacom18, and Times Internet more than ever need to give TV viewers the best possible viewing experience, including UHD viewing on TV and mobile devices.”
Planetcast’s services allow IPL 2023 rightsholders to provide live high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) programming. Playout, feed management, live stream acquisition, low-latency encoding, graphics management, multi-language commentary, and AI-based highlights editing are among the services offered.
Planetcast serves as the backbone of technology for 17 Star Sports networks and several pop-up channels, with feeds in eight languages. Viacom18 can now deliver IPL coverage to Indian streaming audiences via the JioCinema platform thanks to Planetcast.
Furthermore, through its Cricbuzz website, it offers international OTT distribution for Times Internet to the United States, Canada, the Middle East, and North Africa. In India, the complete media services framework is deployed across ten stadiums and three Viacom Sports Hubs.
“IPL 2023 will see us continue to push the envelope in consumer experience in live TV sports,” says Venugopal Iyengar, Chief Operating Officer, Digital, Planetcast International. “We are launching several IPL broadcast innovations this season, including AI-based editing with player facial recognition to quickly provide key video highlights, fast and flexible upstream ad insertion, and handling multiple language audio commentary tracks. We’re excited that Star Sports, Viacom18, and Cricbuzz have chosen us to enable them to fully monetize their coverage and, most importantly, drive viewer enjoyment for over 400 million cricket fans.”
To enable Star Sports’ UHD broadcast, Planetcast will be supporting HD1080P distribution using a satellite news gathering (SNG) kit at Dharamshala and Guwahati venues, representing India’s first SNG transmission of live sports using the latest HEVC® technology with Dolby Atmos®.
Planetcast has created an IP setup based on the latest standards for 4K production, enabling parallel HD and UHD content delivery via compatible televisions and devices to consumers across India – with the opportunity to support HDR in the future.
- The league is presently sponsored by the Indian multinational conglomerate TATA.
- The TATA IPL 2023 season starts on 31st March and concludes with the final on 21st May. It has 10 teams and a total of 74 matches. Seven IPL seasons were auctioned in June 2022 for the 2023-2027 TV and OTT rights cycle at a cost equivalent to $6.2 billion.
- This makes the IPL the world’s second most valuable sports rights, equating to $15.1 million per match, more than the English Premier League’s $11 million per match and only trailing the USA’s National Football League’s $17 million per game.
- Viewership of IPL in India has regularly topped 400 million total viewers.