Jio-led Sports18 is all set to telecast IPL matches this year in 4K video resolution, to enhance the experience for its consumers.
4K video resolution is believed to be High-Definition (HD) video that has four times the resolution of a 1080p HD video. Until 2022, the HD feed was used to telecast matches on Hotstar, the then-official digital partner for IPL.
Sources said Jio had claimed it was telecasting FIFA matches in 4K but that was not end-to-end. “FIFA was a learning experience for Jio. In the last two months they have relentlessly worked on upgrading the technical front, and are expected to deliver a high-quality experience during IPL,” said a senior media planner.
During FIFA, the broadcaster even came under fire for technical glitches during the telecast of two games. However, the situation was brought under control by the finals, which garnered a huge viewership.
As per industry experts, Sports18 is believed to have spent a few hundred crores on setting up its technical team for IPL. “It has one of the biggest technical teams in India right now,” said an industry veteran.
Besides, the platform is also exploring the option of giving the feed in 16 to 17 languages, including Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Odia. “In their pitch, they have been emphasising the need to make IPL local. It should be available to everyone on their mobile headset in their chosen language.”
Another attractive feature that the online telecast is likely to add is “appointment viewing”, wherein the viewer can check the scoreboard and other graphics as and when one wishes to, instead of waiting for the broadcaster to do so.
“During a cricket match, so far, we could see the scorecards, statistics and graphics only when the broadcaster chose to flash it on the screen. However, going forward on Sports18, a viewer can simply click an icon and see the scoreboard at any point,” shared a source.
Early this month, in a move that is likely to be a game-changer for IPL this season, Sports18 announced its decision to air IPL free on the Jio app. The broadcaster also claimed that it was targeting a reach of over 500 million users. As part of its strategy to take TV head-on, the app is expected to sell its inventory, not only based on impressions but also as 10-second slots, exactly like how it is sold on TV.