IPL viewership jumped 22.5% in 2017: BARC
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New Delhi: The tenth season of the T20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL) got the nation hooked with 1.25 billion impressions for the 59 matches played between 5 April and 21 May, a 22.5% jump from a year-ago period.
In 2016, IPL had recorded 1.02 billion impressions for the 60 matches watched across five channels— Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD, according to data released by television viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India on Thursday.
Impressions, also known as television viewership in thousands (TVT), refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes. In the tenth season, a match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad was called off due to heavy rain.
In a departure from previous year, the final match this year garnered 12% lower viewership, compared to 2016. The finals, played between Rising Pune Supergiants and Mumbai Indians (Mumbai Indians won the tournament) garnered 39.4 million impressions, down from 44.68 million (between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad) last year.
During the season, IPL had also pushed television broadcaster Sony Max (also the official broadcaster of IPL) to the top slot, making it the most-watched television channel across genres for several weeks. Sony Max, owned by Sony Pictures Networks India Ltd, has been the official television broadcasters of IPL for the last 10 years since the tournament began.
“In a cricket crazy country, IPL has proved to be a very strong property. The property withstood the controversies around BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and has struck the hearts of the viewers,” said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia.
To be sure, the jump in IPL viewership can, to some extent, be attributed to the recent changes in Barc’s measurement universe. Barc India recently updated and aligned its TV universe in line with ground level changes in demographics, TV ownership and connection type, among other things. After the update in March, total television households in the country rose to 183 million from 154 million in 2013.
For IPL, the maximum viewership came from Maharashtra and Goa, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. IPL garnered 568 million impressions from the rural areas which accounted for 45% of the total viewership of the tournament.
“This was one of the best seasons that we have had, both in terms of viewership and reach. IPL crossed the 400 million mark and reached 411 million viewers this season. The property has reached a mature stage. It has become a part of the sporting calendar,” said Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, Sony Pictures Networks India.
“IPL has been one property that consistently delivers over a period of two months. There is no other property that’s as good. It’s the best bet for advertisers,” said Jigar Rambhia, national director, sports and entertainment partnerships, at Maxus India, a unit of WPP-owned media buying agency GroupM.
IPL’s television broadcast rights which were held by Sony Pictures Networks Pvt. Ltd till now expired with the tenth season. The Internet and mobile rights, however, were held by Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, a unit of Star India, till 2017. Both television and digital rights of IPL are now up for grabs for 2018 and beyond.