IPL and the Battle of Brands: KalaGato analyses how IPL 2020 impacted marketing across sectors


The Indian Premier League 2020 took place at a dramatic and significant time. COVID-19 was peaking, and a severe 2nd wave was expected.

The IPL was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy state of affairs – meeting pent up viewer demand, and giving advertisers a real avenue to spend. Indeed, IPL 2020 came through, breaking records held by any previous broadcasting property.

Across a panel of major towns and cities – we take a look at how various brands performed during this period.

Food Delivery: A Tale of Twins

Swiggy and Zomato have been slugging it out for a while now. While Reach (Number of unique smartphone users who have app installed in that month) suggests that Zomato is doing better, what is remarkable is how closely the two track each other across metrics.

Reach of both apps scaled with the IPL and peaked on the date of the IPL final (10th November 2020), – saw a dip in installs, and then resumed growth.

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato

We see a tight range in the total session time (Time spent in a day) on these food delivery apps; consumers on average spent the same amount of time in browsing and food discovery – this is important given that unlike the pre-pandemic era – one could have argued that Zomato was Delivery++ while Swiggy was just Delivery. The end-to-end process of ordering is well optimized (and largely similar) on both platforms – so the time one takes to place is an order is quite similar.

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato

The Open Rates (number of times an app is opened in a day) however, proffer a different story – we see Swiggy doing a better job at being top of mind with more opens per day – possibly since its cheaper per order in comparison?

Mirzapur, Streamfest and The OTT Wars

The IPL helped fortify two major OTT players (Amazon Prime and Netflix) as well, who continued to expand their reach; in fact, accelerating closer to IPL finals – this is especially interesting since they didn’t have the rights to stream the IPL! Maybe just a fallout of higher awareness of OTT’s and the Pandemic?

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato

Users consistently spent more time on Netflix than on Amazon Prime except for the one big spike between October 23 and 26 when the much-awaited Mirzapur Season 2 released; this pulled in more users (improved Reach, higher Open Rate, and more DAU) for longer stretches…

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato

The Dec 5-6 spike in Netflix usage following their free ‘streamfest’ – helped Netflix narrow the lead.

Payments: a new player wants a share of your ‘wallet’

The Wallets/Payment app space was shaken up in this period with the emergence of Cred.

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato
At just over 3%, CRED’s Reach may appear trifling compared to GooglePay, PayTM, PhonePe but it is growing fast! CRED is also an Official Partner for the IPL and has clearly benefited from the association!

DAU rates for CRED also seem to be improving though they remain far behind PayTM and PhonePe. Considering the nature of transactions on each of these apps – CRED is used for larger, one-off payments v/s routine transactions for the other two, this is to be expected.

IPL Battle of Brands: KalaGato

There’s an App for every facet of life – ordering food, payments, or watching movies. Digital adoption has gone from unimaginable to nascent to becoming the norm. As choices explode, winners and losers start to shake out and new players enter the fray.

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