Hot on the heels of its live video streaming, Facebook is back with its yet another step in the world of the online streaming. The social media giant has put its biggest live streaming bet to win the digital streaming rights of IPL, which is one of the most popular cricket tournaments in India.
In the recent months, Facebook has explored a number of partnerships with sports leaders for live streaming. Now, the company has been made the highest bid of around $610Mn (roughly Rs. 3,900 crores) for the digital rights for streaming IPL within India for five years. However, Facebook loses its biggest live streaming bet to Star India, which won globally TV as well as digital rights for individual markets.
The Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur has been seeking more original content for its live video offering such as live sports. FB has failed in a bid for live streaming sports rights, suffering a setback in India. So, in case Facebook is serious about sports content, it needs to find it elsewhere.
Star India is the only company to bid for all the categories – TV, digital, etc. It made a bet of $2.5Bn and swept the auction. Star owns the popular streaming service Hotstar that rivals Amazon Prime Video and Netflix in India and reserves the rights to stream HBO content such as Game of Thrones.
Amazon, Yahoo, and Twitter signed up for the rights auction but choose to back out of the bidding. Telecom operators Airtel and Reliance Jio also made a big bet for the digital streaming rights. Sony, which had TV rights for all the previous IPL sessions and content conglomerate Times Internet Limited, is also there, bidding for the rights.
Although Facebook didn’t elaborate on its plans, it might have been planning to use India as the testbed to measure the streaming potential of its social platform. Earlier, the company has also live streamed a regular season basketball game for the first time. The live stream was only made available to Indian users.
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