Indian Premier League 2011

IPL TV ratings continue to plunge

Tariq Engineer

May 16, 2011

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Through IPL 2011, ESPNcricinfo will be tracking TV ratings using the TAM People Meter, India's leading TV ratings system. This is the fourth installment in the weekly series

Harbhajan Singh celebrates after striking first ball, Pune Warriors v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2011, Navi Mumbai, May 4, 2011
Mumbai Indians continued to be the biggest draw © AFP

The 2011 IPL continued to take a beating in the television ratings stakes, with the average rating for the first 49 games dropping 25.52% from the previous year across six key markets.

The average Television Viewer Rating (TVR), a time-weighted figure which accounts for time spent watching by viewers and the number of viewers, was 3.94 across the cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, down from 5.29 in 2010, according to TAM Sports, a division of TAM Media Research, the leading television ratings agency in India. It is the first time the average ratings for the IPL have fallen below 4.

A report by IIFL Institutional Equities, a brokerage firm, said that tournament ratings have fallen because of a combination of too much cricket and the shuffling of players between the teams, which has diluted fan loyalty. However, Akash Chattopadhyay, an analyst with IIFL who co-wrote the report, expects the ratings to pick up as the tournament enters its final stages. "We are of the opinion that ratings may pick up during the last knock-out match -- to the tune of 8 TVR (television ratings points). But overall, the series would be nowhere close to the first edition."

Ratings jargon

  • Universe: The total number of people in a defined target audience (in this particular case, the universe includes all cable and satellite viewers in the six metros).
  • Reach: The number of individuals in the universe who watched at least one minute of a particular game or a particular show. It is typically expressed in percentage terms. For example, if 1000 out of a universe of 10,000 watched at least one minute of a game, the reach would be (1000/10,000) x 100 or 10%.
  • TVR: It is a time-weighted figure which accounts for time spent by viewers in addition to the total number of viewers. So you could have a higher TVR because more people watched a particular game or you could have a higher TVR because the same number of people watched the game, but each person watched more of the game than before.
  • India's cable and satellite TV audience is 70 million and its terrestrial audience is 140 million.

Another sign of the IPL's loosening grip on the attention of the viewer has been the strength of the Hindi general entertainment genre (Hindi GEC). In years past, the IPL has siphoned women away from their soaps but this season the Hindi entertainment channels' share of total viewership has been steady. It was 26% in the month leading up to the tournament and 25% during the first month of the IPL. Instead, Set Max has stolen viewers away from the sports channels, whose share has dropped from 11% during the World Cup to 1% while the Hindi movie genre, to which Set Max belongs, has seen its share rise from 10 to 18%.

The two matches that were the biggest draws between May 1 and May 7 both involved Mumbai Indians. Their win over Pune Warriors had the highest rating of 5.39, with 21 million people tuning in to watch, suggesting that a strong regional rivalry could develop between the teams. The second most popular game was Mumbai's win over Delhi Daredevils that knocked the latter out of the race for the play-offs. It had a TVR of 4.95, and also drew 21 million viewers.

The least popular game over the last week was Chennai Super Kings' trouncing of Rajasthan Royals that was surrounded by the controversy over the selection of the pitch for the game. It was watched by 12 million and had a TVR of just 2.09.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by dislokated on (May 19, 2011, 10:26 GMT)

With Ravi Shastri giving commentary, this is not a surprise.

Posted by Harvey on (May 18, 2011, 23:56 GMT)

@duralsumo The IPL is the ONLY cricket that's available on terresestrial TV in England, which is actually pretty good marketing on the part of the IPL organisers. I don't know why you think they're not promoting it here. @maddy20 Australia and England don't have a population of 1bn+, so will never get a TV audience for domestic cricket of anywhere near that size. Besides, domestic (and even international) cricket in England is only available on subscription-only channels, so most people here unfortunately can't watch it without forking out a hefty subscription. Most English cricket fans are already bored with T20 in any case, and the popularity of the format has been declining here for some time. It was very popular when it was in small doses, but it just got too much. I'm not surprised to see the same thing starting to happen in India, where T20 hasn't been around for as long, but the overkill has been even greater than it has been in England.

Posted by inswing on (May 17, 2011, 19:15 GMT)

The factor that has most affected the ratings is the almost total reshuffling of the teams. People need a consistent team to identify with. One or two players can change, but not the whole team. With wholesale changes in the teams after just 3 years, people find it hard to get excited about some other guys that were playing somewhere else just last year. After one or two years, the ratings will get better. But then they will want to change the whole thing again. A secondary reason is the world cup hangover. A lot of excitement has been drained out after the long world cup, and people are not starved for cricket.

Posted by ravikini on (May 17, 2011, 18:40 GMT)

I think Modi is definitely a factor.The innovaton he brought to IPL , each successive year was a revelation like roping in You tube etc. Also addition of 2 new teams has been a drag. Also people have started to crib about the earnings of the players with respect to their performance. I think people have started to believe that players play only for the sake of money and they really don't care what is their team performance as long as they themsleves put up a ok show, so that they will be bid by someone at the auctions.Its all money, money dear. And also the presense of Saba, Rohan gavaskar in the studios , who are no big guns does not interest the cricket lovers. If you have people of genuine calibre like Ian Chapell, Sourav Ganguly , Michael holding present in the studio will boost viewer interest.

Posted by sacheenp on (May 17, 2011, 18:25 GMT)

Too long.. too many games.. and too many selfish players who dump their countries for money.. This is a downhill journey I'm afraid.. and the timing was aweful; just after winning the WC.. terrible to watch IPL after WC..

Posted by knowledge_eater on (May 17, 2011, 18:14 GMT)

TV rating is low compare to what/which cricket? Show me the TV Ratings of other Cricket that was happening at the moment of IPL or even show me the tv ratings of non-IPL season of other cricket tourny. Thanks p.s.: no, world cup rating doesn't qualify.

Posted by gestapo on (May 17, 2011, 18:03 GMT)

the tv ratings will keep dropping,,this is a definite overkill of cricket,,am a cricket buff,,even then,IPL immediately after the world cup and to top it all,,with the format being so extended,,it makes everything so dull and IPL is clearly off colour. Enough of IPL. Although the players make a quick and big buck,one has to feel sorry for them as niggles can turn into career threatening injuries. One can imagine their plight in travelling,,staying in hotels,,packing,,unpacking,,game after game,,,,utter non sense.

Posted by asif2311 on (May 17, 2011, 15:26 GMT)

i am really happy to see the ratings down as members pointed out...its a disgrace for cricket and either it should not take place or have only indian players as participants (which will never happen). I ask all of you a question, had india won the world cup if it had been staged after a grueling IPL? we have lost sehwaag, do not know the conditions of Zaheer our only international bowler....its complete garbage.

Posted by mits6 on (May 17, 2011, 14:34 GMT)

there sud never be more than 40-42 games . Definitely its the overdose which kills interest .

Posted by ahmeds warriors on (May 17, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

i feel i know the reason and i also know tht most of you know this too but dont want to admit it. if u see the first IPL it topped the tvr and after tht there has been a frequent drop in the tvr thanks to the exclusion of pak players, yes i know most of u wil disagree wit this but thts the fact , pak players do generate viewership and people in india do wnt to see pak players either to play wit indian or to play against indian they wil take both. so i feel its a high time now tht they remove this useless ban on pak players and try to bring them inn in the next edtion and i m 200% sure the tvr will break the first edition of the ipl. As i dont see any wrong in calling pak players in the ipl, and if they wnt to ban then ban the entire people of pak no singers, no comedian, no politician, no actors ......... why they wnt to limit the ban only to the crickters thts really hard to digest i hope BCCI has a logical explanation to this rule of baning Cricketers.

Posted by Gizza on (May 17, 2011, 10:57 GMT)

There are two main reasons why IPL IV has struggled. 1. No Lalit Modi 2. And more importantly it was a World Cup year where India won. They should hold the IPL 3 times in the space of 4 years. Either that or move the IPL 6 months ahead when the WC is on. Too close to each other means overdose of cricket. A third suggestion (not really a reason for a drop in ratings except for the end) is to increase the play-off spots to 5. Before 4 out of 8 teams qualified for the semis. Now that it has changed to a play-off McIntyre type system, it is easy to accomate 5 teams for the next state (1st gets bye, 2 vs 5, 3 vs 4, and so on). Perhaps even make it 6 teams in play-off because early exits means drop in interest. Of course the top spots should still get incentives like home ground advantage and playing less games to reach the finals like what is done in many sports finals systems around the world.

Posted by Kumar_cricket on (May 17, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

Atleast by this time, the tournament has to be completed but still 13 more mathches to left (including playoffs). That shows how boring it is.

Posted by duralsumo on (May 17, 2011, 9:32 GMT)

maddy -12 million may be more than Austalia's population that is interested however using the economic principal of economies of scale it is not too high for the captive Asian market. Yes there is a place for the IPL as there is for the Big Bash and English T20 and so on. However it should not impact on International Cricket. It is interesting the whole point of creating the IPL was for Indian market and cable tv for Asia. However like having your favourite meal for six months it can soon lose its attraction. Our whole argument is not directed at the IPL but the impact is creating on International Cricket Calendar. Food for thought.

Posted by ravishankar231 on (May 17, 2011, 8:01 GMT)

I personally dont like this version of IPL because of over doze of cricket and being an Indian we never got chance to celebrate the WC victory. WC is something big which we have always dreamt of and not giving enough time to enjoy and celebrate was the main reason for this flop show.

Posted by ListenToMe on (May 17, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

Let me point out my views: 1. I always have the belief that this is not real cricket. It is mostly a game won by luck rather than experience or ability. Even a bowler can win a match by hitting six over keeper's head with mere luck. 2. Most viewers prefer to watch the match just as a time pass, because he doesn't support a specific team. Even if he supports a team, he is not interested in watching the match, instead he opts to look cricinfo just to see the result and points table.

Nothing can be done to improve IPL because this is not real cricket.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (May 17, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

1 match against each other is enough. Lot of matches will reduce the viewers interest.

Posted by tomhedley on (May 17, 2011, 5:19 GMT)

Such a ridiculous tournament, it's a disgrace that players are putting this garbage in front of their international careers.

Posted by iamastar on (May 17, 2011, 1:25 GMT)

i think IPL IV is not getting good responses because of lacklusture matches... how many exciting close finishes were there?? last three years the matches were well fought but this tear even with almost 15 matches to go ... we are sure who all will make the play-offs.... difference between the 1st and last have grown wide... taking away the balance in the matches.... it is following the epl way...

Posted by maddy20 on (May 17, 2011, 1:24 GMT)

@Duralsamo The worst rating of 2 is still better than any Australian or English domestic t20 tournaments. 12 million viewers is minimum my friend!

Posted by Padstow_Hornets on (May 17, 2011, 0:13 GMT)


Problem with Australia is the time. Most people won't want to stay up until 3 am to watch teams they have no connection to especially when they have to get up in another 2-3 hours to go to work.

Posted by duralsumo on (May 16, 2011, 22:33 GMT)

As I have said before not promoting your product to the traditional cricket countries like Australia and England is dumb marketing. Good work new owners of IPL stick by your principles and ensure that your product does not get exposure. When the Beatles toured Australia in 1964 their management had negotiated a poor contract but they still decided to tour so to get the exposure into Australia. Further the keep interest the competition has to be streamlined. We live in age of digital tv and multi channelling surely several games should be shown simultaenously? Have a look at how the Big Bash operated in OZ and you will find it was all done and dusted within four weeks.

Posted by cricket_for_all on (May 16, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

Good work Indian people. Please try to show the BCCI that you like cricket not money making baseball. If you try to avoid watching IPL BCCI will think for real cricket. Keep it up!!!.

Posted by vipinchaudhary2325 on (May 16, 2011, 20:39 GMT)

52 days is too much for cricket viewers.... dey cant see match everyday.... IPL should be played like T20 world cup..... 2 groups of 5-5 teams.... den super 6.... semi-final and final...

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Tournament Results
Super Kings v RCB at Chennai - May 28, 2011
Super Kings won by 58 runs
RCB v Mum Indians at Chennai - May 27, 2011
RCB won by 43 runs
KKR v Mum Indians at Mumbai - May 25, 2011
Mum Indians won by 4 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)
RCB v Super Kings at Mumbai - May 24, 2011
Super Kings won by 6 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
KKR v Mum Indians at Kolkata - May 22, 2011
Mum Indians won by 5 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)
RCB v Super Kings at Bangalore - May 22, 2011
RCB won by 8 wickets (with 12 balls remaining)
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