The dizzying ascent of these cricket apps, some from near oblivion, after the IPL tournament began on September 19 in the UAE, has been meteoric.
Move over messaging apps, TikTok clones and payment apps, folks.
It’s IPL cricket fever time and most of the top 10 downloaded apps in the country every day are related to the game.
The dizzying ascent of these cricket apps, some from near oblivion, after the IPL tournament began on September 19 in the UAE, has been meteoric, thus reflecting the status of the game as the country’s religion even during the pandemic and even when coronavirus has necessitated stadiums without audiences, without sound, and without atmosphere.
Disney+ Hotstar, which has the digital rights to stream IPL matches live, saw its download rankings in Google Play (based on data from Sensor Tower which tracks download rankings) rise from number 17 just five days before the tournament, to the most downloaded app in India, hitting number one every day from September 20.
On September 27, it moved one step down to number 2 position.
Just consider that on September 1, Hotstar was ranked 39th in the pecking order.
Last year, nearly 300 million subscribers were hooked to the game through Hotstar, making it the most popular programme on the OTT platform.
Uday Shankar, chairman of Star and Disney in India, had pointed out that this year, viewership on the OTT app, as well as on TV, will continue growing as it had done the previous years.
The firm raked in over Rs 3,000 crore from advertising.
Some indications of the size of the demand can be gauged from the fact that the total viewership on day one was 8.4 million viewers on Hotstar, according to reports.
But when a country of this size is in the grip of a frenzy, one app alone will not cut the mustard.
Cricbuzz has over 100 million downloads.
The app gives live scores, analysis and news on the IPL.
On September 1, it was nowhere close and un-noticed at a distant 372 on Google Play downloads.
It roared to 123rd on the first day of IPL.
The next day, it surged to number five.
Currently, it is the 4th most downloaded app on Google Play every day.
Keeping these two company is Cricket.com, a company registered in Republic of Ireland offering predictive cricket algorithms, score, and player projections.
It moved up the pecking order from 392 on September 15, to 5th on September 27.
Even the BCCI’s IPL 2020 app saw its ranking rise from 232nd on September 17, to 8th on September 27.
The domination of cricket apps can be seen from the fact that, on September 27, five of the top ten most downloaded apps - based on Sensor Tower data - were on cricket and the IPL: Hotstar, Cricbuzz, Cricket.com, IPL 2020 and Live Cricket TV.
Yet, just a day before the tournament started, not a single one of them was in the top ten list.
Despite the cricket onslaught, some feisty warriors have managed to stand their ground.
Most notable has been Snack Video, a TikTok clone.
It has suddenly risen to the top of the charts and has overtaken Hotstar to become the most downloaded app in the Google Play store.
While there are concerns about its origins, it has not been banned by the government.
Apart from Snack Video, a few other stalwarts also remain - Google Meet, Zoom and Jio TV, amongst others.