IPL ratings drop after overseas shift

NEW DELHI: The IPL is struggling to match the immense interest of last year’s inaugural season after organisers were forced to shift the 37-day Twenty20 tournament to South Africa.

The inaugural IPL’s TV rating attracted top-spending advertisers last year, but viewers’ attention now seems to be wavering.

Replicating the success of the IPL’s first edition in 2008 was always going to be tough, but audience ratings have taken on more importance since the shift away from India has effectively turned the IPL into a made-for-television event.

Local support for the eight city-based franchisees is not a factor this season.

Fails to hold attention

The IPL’s initial matches seem to have attracted more viewers than last year, but those monitoring the TV ratings say the matches failed to hold viewers’ attention. As viewers switched to news and other programs, the ratings apparently have dropped, although no official statistics have been released.

“The start hasn’t been as bright as last year’s, but media watchers say IPL’s second season still promises to be a big hit on TV,” reported The Times of India.

The Times, quoting audience measurement agency INTAM Media Research, said the first day’s IPL telecast from South Africa “notched up a TRP (Television Rating Points) of 5.55 per cent.”

TRP is the criterion that indicates the popularity of a television program. The viewership data is keenly followed by advertisers and media planners for their campaigns.

Last year, the IPL had averaged a TRP of around five per cent throughout the series, sustaining itself as the top TV program in the country of 1 billion-plus people across 44 days.

“It was 8.21 per cent on IPL’s first day last year,” reported INTAM Media Research, which also said that this year’s opening day broadcast from South Africa reached more than 12 million viewers — roughly the same as last year.

Viewership down

“Despite all the hype, the organisers failed to spin a web around viewers. Television viewership was down by over 16 per cent for the opening two games compared to last year,” reported sports portal, quoting audience figures from aMAP research agency.

“Even though larger numbers of viewers watched the first two matches, curiosity did not sustain as much as last year,” aMap Chief Executive Amit Verma was quoted as saying.

This has been attributed to the matches missing the gutsy hitting, the sixes, the high scores associated with a Twenty20 game,” he said.

Verma said viewers, on an average, spent roughly 32 minutes watching the opening day’s action, down from 50 minutes last year.

“But this is just the beginning, industry observers say viewership will improve as the tournament gains momentum,” he said.

The Business Standard said the dip in viewership figures has not surprised media agencies. “We expected a decline in viewership ratings,” The Business Standard quoted Havas Media India’s Chief Executive Anita Nayyar as saying.

“The novelty factor was missing since this is the second year. This trend is also noticeable for reality shows that are aired for the second or third time,” Nayyar said. “The IPL moving out of India has also contributed to the decline in ratings.” —AP

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