IPL 6 viewership: TV’s loss makes online the boss

By : |May 20, 2013 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Before the start of the sixth season of Indian Premier League (IPL 6), we had a big question nagging our minds: Will it be a battleground between online and TV viewership?

As it turns out, it well was. As per the data made available, television ratings (TVR) are on a downhill ride, even as online viewership is burgeoning by leaps and bounds.

In the first six weeks (59 matches out of overall 76, including the yet-to-be contested final), the average all-India TVR slipped to 2.9 – an alarming drop of 14 per cent as compared to the same period during the previous season. Even worse, in the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM), it was down 15 per cent to just 3 per cent.

Incidentally, it was expected to increase a wee bit. A TV Rating Estimation Study by MEC, a media buying and planning agency, indicated pre-tournament that TV viewership would marginally increase from 3.8 TVR in 2012 (IPL 5) to 3.9 TVR this edition.

The plummeting fortunes of the good old television can be further understood if we go back by one more glorious IPL season – 5 in 2011. Although IPL 5 TV ratings improved to an average of 4.0 TVR after 27 games, it was still 5 per cent lower than in IPL 5 (2011) after as many games. The overall trend also proved that there is a constant dip in TV viewership every passing year.

Contrast that with the ever-growing figures of online viewership. This season, online viewership has crossed IPL 5’s overall record figures (49.3 million) by nothing less than 52 per cent, that too in just 38 matches – bang in the middle of the long tournament. After 38 mathces, the figure touched 75.2 million on both BoxTV, www.boxtv.com run by Indiatimes, and its official YouTube channel. www.youtube.com/indiatimes

According to Times Internet Limited, the combined viewership of match highlights and clips grew 480 per cent in watch-hours compared to a year ago. It added that no other live event has ever created this kind of reach in India.

Tech-savvy southern cities of India, Bangalore and Hyderabad, are on top of the online viewership table with 14 per cent each, with capital Delhi placed second at 10 per cent.

“Over the last two years, we’ve offered IPL fans across the world a superior experience online and steadily grown a loyal viewer base. For IPL 2013, we’ve worked hard to make the online experience more social and interactive than ever before, and our traffic numbers so far are proof enough that IPL fans are loving it,” Satyan Gajwani, chief executive officer of Times Internet, was quoted saying.

The surge in online viewership is primarily due to better streaming experience, increased mobile and tablet device access and growing awareness about the availability of IPL online, is the assertion of Praveen Sharma, head of media sales, Google India.


“In the past, we usually saw a rise in the first two weeks of the tournament and then it picked up again during the final week. But this year, the growth has been consistent through the tournament. At this rate, we hope to register strong growth in total viewership by the end of the tournament over last year.”

At this juncture, many pundits strongly believe that online viewership is a trend that would only scale greater heights in the near future, with Internet penetration increasing throughout the country and awareness among the public increasing manifold.

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