ESPN Cricinfo, the flagship portal of global sports media giant ESPN’s digital media division, has announced a robust user engagement strategy to cash in on the upcoming Cricket World Cup, expecting higher traffic on its website (espncricinfo.com).
Come this World Cup, espncricinfo.com will be abuzz with many initiatives in the video space (only in the US and Caribbean), which will include more pre-match, match-time, and post-match analyses and vignettes.
To cater to a spurt in demand for digital content, ball-to-ball analysis, user-centric events, and better all-round coverage of the tournament will be the other highlights.
The site’s monthly traffic is around 13 million unique (desktop) hits, other than the additional 80 per cent coming from mobile devices. “Thanks to the World Cup, we expect a 100 per cent increase in unique hits, which roughly translates to around 25 million visitors to the site, apart from the 80 per cent more visitors via mobile devices. Around 3-4 million hits come through mobile apps,” ESPN India Digital Media Operations Head Ramesh Kumar told Deccan Herald.
“Cricket is a 24X7 pastime in India, hence, we are assured of stable traffic on the site for at least eight months of the year, largely composed of passionate and fairly evolved cricket followers,” Kumar said.
During the last World Cup in 2011, espncricinfo.com saw 200 per cent higher traffic compared with its nearest competitors.
“Over the last 4-5 years, in desktop page views, we have recorded a year-on-year growth of 40 per cent, while the amount of traffic based on desktop time spent grew 65 per cent,” Kumar said, adding that mobile devices’ traffic grew over 200 per cent.
Overall, espncricinfo.com contributes to around 51 per cent of its parent ESPN Digital’s internet traffic (Except the US).
India contributes around 50 per cent to espncricinfo.com’s traffic, while the remainder is contributed by visitors from Australia, New Zealand and other ‘cricket-playing’ nations logging into the site.
“The company earns 90 per cent of its revenues largely through advertising, while the remaining 10 per cent is earned through content syndication, telecom and ecommerce transactions and merchandise,” Kumar said.
ESPN Cricinfo’s global revenues have seen a year-on-year growth of 35 per cent, while the Indian operations have contributed about 55 per cent, and this World Cup is only expected to help add more revenues.
Talking about the strategy for the future, he said that the company is focusing on developing products to tap the mobile space, apart from the video and social media realms. In terms of social media and engagement, the company has seen a year-on-year growth of over 150 per cent.
“We aim to grow even more, and accordingly, increase our current global headcount of 160 employees,” Kumar said, hinting at acquisition plans in the next phase of growth in three years.