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April 23, 2012
News : TV ratings for IPL continue to fall
News : IPL cumulative viewership declines for the first time
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Rajiv Shukla, the chairman of the IPL, has denied reports that the Twenty20 tournament's popularity has declined, and said that the "response [this year] is rocking" and that "IPL 5 will be a super success". However, he conceded that the IPL has increased the likelihood of players getting injured, but said the BCCI has taken steps to ensure they are treated properly.
While crowds have filled stadiums for most games so far this season, Television Viewer Ratings have continued to drop. The first 16 games posted a TVR of 3.65, down from 4.00 a year earlier and 4.61 in 2010, according to TAM Sports, a division of Tam Media Research, a leading television ratings agency in India. Set Max, which telecasts the tournament, has also signed fewer advertisers and sponsors this year. Despite these indications, Shukla believes reports of the IPL's decline have been exaggerated.
"I think it is a myth," he told CNN-IBN in an interview. "I don't think you are aware of the facts." Shukla said there has been a 56% increase in internet viewership and that while television ratings have declined, that is true of the industry as a whole and that the measure of what makes a popular show has changed.
"If you look at the TRPs, [for] all metros it is between 7 to 10 [for the IPL]. And the paradigm has also shifted. Those shows which used to get 7, 8, 9, 10 TRPs, if they can get 2 or 3, they are actually good shows." One explanation for the downturn in ratings, Shukla said, is TAM's expanded coverage, which now includes smaller towns with a population of at least 100,000. That, in turn, has diluted the effect on the ratings of the tournament's popularity in bigger cities.
According to Indiantelevision.com, the opening game of the IPL between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings drew a rating of 6.13, the highest of the season so far but well below the 7.77 rating for the opening game last year and 6.95 the year before. The IPL did give Set Max four of the top five rated shows between April 4 and April 10, but while the Delhi Daredevils game against Kolkata Knight Riders posted a 5.56 rating, the other two games had ratings under 4.00. The lowest rated game from the first week was between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Daredevils, which drew a TVR of just 2.68.
Perhaps more worrying for the IPL is that it posted its first ever decline in the total number of people who have watched the show to this point, while advertisers have also adopted more of a wait-and-watch approach. Three major brands - Parle, LG Electronics and Godrej - chose not to continue their association with the league this season. Alok Bharadwaj, senior vice-president of Canon India, told the Times of India earlier this month that advertisers are starting to consider other options as their returns from the IPL are not proportional to the increasing costs. Canon has reportedly cut down its spending on the league by 80%.
However, Shukla claimed that sponsors had not abandoned the league and said that a better picture of the ratings and viewership would emerge once the tournament had ended. "You are trying to analyse it on the basis of one or two weeks," he said. "Let the IPL finish and then I'll talk to you ... none of the sponsors have gone away. Everybody is with us. Whatever rights we are selling, it is going on higher price. I am running the shop so I know."
|"Because of these matches, sometimes injury problems do occur. What we have done this time is [to] ask BCCI physios to stay in touch with the physios and trainers of all the franchises, so if there is any injury, timely action is taken. Apart from that, we have a large group of players. Now for every slot we have five, six alternatives, so if somebody is injured, we immediately replace him. So Indian cricket is not affected." Rajiv Shukla|
Shukla also said that broadcasters Set Max were pleased with the ratings of the tournament so far and had not complained to the BCCI about sponsors or ratings. "They are very happy. Will they come to you to complain? They haven't complained to us. There is no such problem."
In an interview with CNN-TV18 on April 16, Rohit Gupta, the president of Multi-Screen Media (MSM), which owns Set Max, said that 35% to 40% of the channel's ad inventory was still unsold but that it was early days and he expected the ratings to rise as the tournament progressed. "You actually need just two or three games to do well, which are closely fought games to then build the interest levels." Gupta said he was in talks with more sponsors and advertisers and anticipated selling most of the inventory over the duration of the tournament. Last season MSM had managed to sell about 90% of its inventory before the tournament started.
Where Shukla did admit there was a problem was in the case of player injuries. The issue came to the forefront last year after Gautam Gambhir was diagnosed with a shoulder injury during the tournament and Virender Sehwag opted to delay shoulder surgery until Daredevils were out of the running for a place in the playoffs.
"Because of these matches, sometimes injury problems do occur," Shukla said. "What we have done this time is [to] ask BCCI physios to stay in touch with the physios and trainers of all the franchises, so if there is any injury, timely action is taken. Apart from that, we have a large group of players. Now for every slot we have five, six alternatives, so if somebody is injured, we immediately replace him. So Indian cricket is not affected."
Shukla also said that no player is being made to play the tournament against his will. "If anybody is feeling fatigued, has any injury, he should immediately inform the BCCI or the IPL secretariat and he will be given adequate rest. Nobody is being forced to play, irrespective of how big is the player."
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