IPL 2012 April 11, 2012

IPL cumulative viewership declines for the first time

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The IPL's fifth season has registered a fall in total viewership and television ratings for the opening six games in comparison to the 2011 season. This includes a decline in cumulative viewership for the first time in the IPL's five-year history.

The cumulative number of people who tuned in to watch the first six games was 90.1 million, down from 101.77 million last year, according to TAM Sports, a division of Tam Media Research, the leading television ratings agency in India. "Cumulative reach" is the number of individuals who watched a channel/programme for at least one minute. The tournament had managed to increase its audience in each successive season till 2011.

Television Viewer Ratings (TVR) were down 18.7% as a result, with the opening six games posting an average TVR of 3.76 compared to 4.63 last season (TVR is a time-weighted figure which accounts for time spent by viewers in addition to the number of viewers). The opening ceremony held in Chennai the day before the first game drew a rating of just 1.16, despite the presence of a number of Bollywood celebrities.

The 2012 season is considered something of a litmus test for the league after ratings slumped last year. The 2011 IPL produced the lowest television ratings of any of the first four seasons, down 29% from 2010. That reversal was largely blamed on "cricket fatigue" arising out of India's victorious World Cup campaign, with the IPL starting a mere six days after the final between India and Sri Lanka. With no international cricket in India in the build-up to this season, the league was expected to bounce back, with BCCI president N Srinivasan telling the Hindu he expected the tournament "to be a sweeping success".

Sridhar Ramanujam, the head of brand consulting firm Brand Comm, thinks the problem is that there are too many games in the IPL now and that the BCCI needs to find a way to shorten the tournament. "I expect viewership will be selective," he said. "If I like Sachin Tendulkar, then I might watch the Mumbai Indians. I will probably watch Rahul Dravid. There might be people watching Sourav Ganguly.

"It is not as if people are going to stop watching it. There will be selective viewing. In a 50-over game, people are now watching the first 10 overs and the last 10 overs. Possibly there is a viewing pattern emerging for T20 as well."

Advertisers have also adopted more of a wait-and-watch approach to the tournament this season, with three major brands - Parle, LG Electronics and Godrej - choosing not to continue their association with the league. "Advertisers are starting to look at other options," Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice-president of Canon India, told the Times of India. "Each year the rates have gone up by 15 to 20% and the returns are not directly proportionate." Canon has reportedly cut down its spending on the league by 80%.

However, others, such as Vodafone, have backed the league, saying it is still the best platform to reach to reach a mass audience.

Sridhar believes Multi-Screen Media, which broadcasts the tournament on its Set Max channel, will need to consider moving to a pricing system that is linked to ratings in order to sell out its advertising space. "I think the whole [IPL] business model is a bit shaky now and not as robust as it was made out to be when it first started."

Edited by Abhishek Purohit

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 13, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    It was bound to happen some day or the other!!!!May be a guy like Afridi can lift the TRP of ipl in future....

  • dummy4fb on April 13, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    so many matches in a short period is something boring. if they want more viewership the ipl should do like this 1. reduce the number of matches by having only one match against each team 2. if kochi team is including then each team should increase the number of the foreign players in the playing xi to five 3. matches should be scheduled only on weekends such as friday, saturday and sunday 4. venues for the playoffs should be decided by the current standings not previous.

  • RRam on April 13, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    I have never understood these calculations and the statistical validity of the same. It is never explained to the level of detail that can be understood by a layman. And btw, I did watch every single of those 8 test match defeats and every single of the IPL games so far (some for all of the time and some for lesser time). And I know of many of my friends who did the same. And most stadiums have more crowds than in 2011. Why is it otherwise so difficult to get tickets? Some of the comments just beats any logic - Why should a team not celebrate when a close match has been won or a big wicket been taken. How is the performance of a Rahane who scores 98 in his first match of the IPL connected with India losing 8 test matches abroad?

  • Charindra on April 12, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    This seems strange considering the stadiums are well filled. But the BCCI really needs to allow 5 foreign players per side. For example in Bangalore team, Dilshan will most probably have to sit out the entire season, cuz the 4 foreign players are Vettori (captain), Gayle, De Villiers (keeper batsman) and Murali. Same thing with Deccan, who has to bench J.P. Duminy. In every team there are only about 3 or 4 Indian players who have not played for India but have a realistic chance of doing so through the IPL. Nobody cares about the other 3 or 4 players who dont have the talent to be an Indian national player. And they wont really improve much playing in the IPL, and definitely not enough to play for India. So ya, get the viewership up by making it 5 intl players per team. Oh and also go back to 8 teams. 9 is too much, and 76 matches is ridiculous!

  • BanCricFan on April 12, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    " @ remnant on (April 12 2012, 10:53 AM GMT)

    Has the survey picked the Bangladeshi market? Considering the boisterous support garnered by Shakib on cricinfo site, it can be assumed that there is a fanatical following in that country for its ambassdors to IPL! " ==> No mate u got it wrong! Here in Bangladesh we rarely watch any match of IPL unless there is Shakib or Tamim .... :) So u know, 'Picking Bangladeshi Market' wouldn't make any difference in that survey, I think.

  • DibblyDobbler2 on April 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    @tariq_16 - oh well then thats 2 taka less in their earnings then ....lol!!!

  • raj45 on April 12, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    I think 10-12 matches are enough for ipl.

  • bonaku on April 12, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    It is quite a strange stats, given that stadiums are almost full in most of the matches.

  • ultrasnow on April 12, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    I don't own a TV. Everything I do is related to the internet. I mostly watch live streaming when I feel like watching cricket (which is rare), otherwise I mostly track the scores on cricinfo.

  • remnant on April 12, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Has the survey picked the Bangladeshi market? Considering the boisterous support garnered by Shakib on cricinfo site, it can be assumed that there is a fanatical following in that country for its ambassdors to IPL!

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