Times Internet Ltd (Indiatimes), a subsidiary of BCCL group, has entered into a strategic content partnership with a digital media agency Perform for distributing mobile video content and online content rights for the English Premier League (EPL) in India. The English Premier League is a domestic football tournament in UK.
Both Indiatimes.com and M.indiatimes.com will show highlights of the EPL matches and will also offer clips and related content via the shortcode 58888.
Perform owns digital rights through contracts relating to more than 200 leagues, tournaments and events. It distributes content via its web TV subscription product Livesport.tv and mobile subscription product Sportal Scoreboard.
The UK based company also offers a video on demand platform called ePlayer that will be used to distribute videos to users. For the duration of EPL, ePlayer will be jointly monetised by both Perform and Times Internet using ads. ePlayer currently has 400 publishers and claims it reaches an audience of 46 million per month.
Oliver Slipper, joint-CEO, Perform, said, "As we are seeing in other markets, as networks improve and devices become more widely adopted, accessing sport video becomes the norm and with this comes commercialisation opportunities which we are well placed to take advantage of."
Times Internet Limited CEO Rishi Khiani added, "Given the growing popularity of football, especially EPL, in India, this is a strategic content partnership for us. Couple this with the growth of fans accessing sport via connected devices and our reach in the Indian market, we are poised to capitalise on these trends."
In August 2011, Times Internet recorded over 24 million visitors while its mobile site recieved 20 million users.
Indiatimes is betting on sports to drive traffic online and on the mobile. It paid Rs 261.6 crore for the rights for Internet, mobile and radio between 2011 and 2014 and set up a YouTube channel in April 2011 for the Indian Premier League, that was successful. The Youtube channel registered 72 million page views globally. The number of page views from India rose 79 per cent from 24 million in the last season to 43 million this year. The finals witnessed over five million page views, the company said.
Later, in June, it signed a digital partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) of the USA to launch a section exclusively for NBA on the Times of India website.