It’s been just a few days into the cricket World Cup, no big-ticket encounters have happened as yet, and the Indian team plays its first match on 17 March. But, if television ratings on SET Max—the channel with rights to telecast the event in India—are any indication, the strategy of having an extended World Cup (lasting till end of April) by featuring more teams (including Bermuda and Ireland) hasn’t helped.
Star Plus’ popular soaps continue to do well, with average viewership of 5% or even a little higher, according to television rating firm aMap. In contrast, ratings in the few matches that have been played until now have not exceeded 5%. “We have not had big matches as yet,” said Rohit Gupta, executive vice–president, sales and marketing, SET, explaining that the low ratings were not a matter of concern. The real cricket, he added, would only begin on 27 March, when the top two teams of each group, which will likely be the eight top cricketing nations in the world, face off. “The power of cricket is such that we expect our viewership to grow to 70% by the second week,” he said.
The CEO of aMap, Tapan Pal, agreed that it was too early to derive any conclusions. “As far as all of India is concerned, the World Cup begins when India starts playing. And if India plays well, it’ll reflect on all other matches,” he said.