Shifting away from TVs

Published November 22, 2021

Signing an A-list star as the product’s brand ambassador isn’t enough to guarantee its success anymore. Social media is clearly the new king of marketing in this sector.

And for that matter, Daraz anticipated the traditional market structure to digitalise and understand the benefits of digital presence, as organisations are adopting quantitative and performance-based marketing strategies.

Alibaba-owned Daraz secured the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 streaming and provided free access to millions of cricket fans, hoping to earn $2 million from sponsorships alone during this year. Questions are raised on the strategy that aimed to go above and beyond both in terms of customer service and empowerment of the local community roaming projected to have a profound impact on the advertising sector.

“The reach of the viewership grew considerably from the first match till the semifinal. More than 12m people watched World Cup 2021 generating more than 345m views,” said Ammar Hassan, chief marketing officer at Daraz. “We hit a peak concurrent app-only. Since this was app-only broadcasting hence it does not have our web numbers,” he added.

As the initiative brought some interesting statics related to sports rating of different channels, for instance, PTV Sports and Ten Sports’ ratings for Pakistan vs. India match at the 2016 ICC WC T20 were 19.63 and 10.39, however, the ratings for the same contest at the ICC Men’s T20 WC 2021 were 18.7, and 6.1.

Did the $1.5 million investment to stream the 2021 T20 World Cup pay off for Daraz?

Given the A sports rating for tournaments were only 5.2 per cent higher than Ten Sports’ cumulative ratings for matches in the six matches preceding that, and assuming that Ten Sports’ ratings in 2016 were comparable to A Sports’ ratings in the same year, channels have seen a decline in ratings. Could it be attributed to Daraz Live and the matches being televisual on three channels rather than two?

According to media planners who presented the data, audiences who were TV-based in 2016 are becoming mobile-oriented. A big percentage of sports events enthusiasts (in their mid-30s) are predominantly mobile addicted.

“TV is still huge in Pakistan in terms of audience reach. We as a brand also still advertise on TV and find it effective. It depends on which product category your brand belongs to and what is your target audience. For us, our digital spends are bigger than offline marketing spends which might not be true for other brands,” said Mr Hassan. “We are a platform of more than 20m plus active users, which means that our reach might be equal or greater to some of the top tier TV channels as well.”

Speaking about the digital media importance he said: “With the advent of local manufacturing of smartphones, for many, their first date with the internet will happen through their mobile. I see a very fast pace shift of advertising towards digital coming in 5 – 10 years which will compete TV.”

Daraz is investing in content to guarantee that users have more than one reason to download and use the app. Daraz marketed well. The catch was the free live matches but did it get dodged as there are multiple platforms that streamed the tournament without buying the rights?

As reported, Daraz paid GroupM Pakistan around $1.5m for the online streaming of said matches and secured a net profit in excess of 30pc trying to handle the venture with the same lens as Alibaba Group’s Tmall.

“Feedback from clients was overwhelming. We had the advantage of flexibility. The investment in T20 digital rights proved to be apt as it paid well besides spike in brand recognition” said Mr Hassan.

One of the most interesting aspects of this venture is the disclosure that consumers who are watching the game would be provided contextual advertisements for appropriate products which can affect the bottom line stats of advertisers.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, November 22nd, 2021

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