The latest television ratings for the IPL are in and they continue to paint a faltering picture for the broadcaster, Multi-Screen Media, and the BCCI.

The average TVR (a time-weighted figure that accounts for time spent by viewers in addition to the number of viewers) for the first 27 games in 2012 was 3.53, down from 3.88 at the same stage a year ago and 4.75 in 2010, according to TAM Sports, a division of TAM Media Research. The ratings also indicate a potential downward trend this season, as the first 16 games had an average rating of 3.65. Moreover, the total viewership of the tournament continues to lag behind last season’s pace, albeit marginally. In 2011, 140.27 million had tuned in by this point but this season that number is 137.72 million.

The 2012 season is considered something of a litmus test for the league after ratings slumped last year by 29%, a reversal blamed largely on "cricket fatigue" arising out of India's victorious World Cup campaign that ended six days before the IPL. With no international cricket in India in the build-up to this edition, the league’s ratings were expected to bounce back.

Tariq Engineer is a former senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo