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Hotstar app to broadcast Vivo IPL 2018 in Virtual Reality format

VR technology is gaining prominence not only in the tech space but in the entertainment industry as well. While the applications of the technology are reaching in many spheres, Star India, the official broadcaster of the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) is now aiming to use the technology to expand the scale of the league’s viewership in the digital space.

As such the network has announced that this year, the Hotstar app (which is a video streaming platform) will stream the upcoming Vivo IPL series in a virtual reality format. Digit reports that the app apart from allowing users to watch the cricket matches in VR will reportedly give users to ability to react using cricket emojis, select from different camera angles and commentary languages as well as access on-demand replays and highlights from a “Super-fan feed”.

“In India, between 600 and 700 million people follow cricket. However, of these, not more than 30 million would have seen a live cricket match in a stadium. We want to enhance the experience for those who can’t make it to the stadiums. Through Hotstar, using technology, we have made the virtual reality option available this year,” said Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India.

Talking about the viewability, users will be able to view the IPL in two ways on Hotstar. The user can view the match directly using VR glasses as Hotstar’s back-end technology will be compatible with VR devices. Secondly, the app will allow users to pause the match at any given time, and swipe/tilt the phone to get a 360-degree view of the ground.

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Gupta has stated that the new VR feature will seemingly enhance the viewing experience. However, apart from this, he has also highlighted that it will also provide yet another avenue for brands to engage with the audience outside stadiums. Star, however, has no interest in forming any hardware tie-ups with VR glass/headset makers for now.

Meanwhile, Star India is aiming to reach 700 million viewers on TV and digital with IPL 2018 and hopes to get a significantly higher number of advertisers for the tournament. This season of VIVO IPL will go on for 6 months instead of 2 months.

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