From the FT today
Mr Walk said a recent Indian Premier League cricket series had notched up 55m views on YouTube – more in the US than in India – and it found a market for Bollywood in Estonia by offering Striker, a Bollywood film, either on a pay-per-stream basis or free with advertising support outside India.
I watched the IPL on Willow.tv for $60 for all matches. That sounds like a high hurdle for ad supported YouTube, but it isn’t. To pay $60 for Willow.tv is actually foolish. I paid $60 for the T20 World Cup and watched 15 minutes of cricket (the India-Australia match, if you must know). Granted IPL will be different because you won’t be that wedded to any team that you won’t watch the other matches. But even so, there is the matter of the quality of the video, which is consistent but average.
YouTube being free will attract an audience that could be 100 times larger. The asking average revenue from each viewer therefore is much, much lower. The opportunity for advertising is greatly underleveraged. There were banner ads around the video frame this time from some money transfer service but I’ll bet the inventory was sold super cheap, since those were the only ads I saw. But what about the interleaved ads between overs and during drinks? Why do folks in the US have to see an Indian cellphone ad? All this can add up to much more than what Willow.tv is taking in.
My guess is that IPL will be free next year on YouTube.