New Delhi: The first nine days of the ongoing Fifa World Cup has garnered 90.7 million impressions across urban and rural India including the opening ceremony which notched up 2.1 million impressions. A total of 26 matches were played between 14 June and 22 June. The Germany vs Mexico match telecast on 17 June at 8.30pm, is the most watched match of the tournament so far garnering seven million impressions.

The numbers, provided by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India, represent viewers above two years of age who watched the matches across three channels of Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), the official broadcaster of the tournament as well as on DD Sports.

Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.

Sony, which introduced local language feed for the first time for Fifa, said that 46% of the television viewership of live matches came from regional languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu.

“Our strategy of engaging viewers and catering to their convenience with local language feeds has helped us expand the market and reach out to a wider fan base," said Rajesh Kaul, president, distribution and sports business, Sony Pictures Networks India.

While Barc India provided viewership in impressions, Sony Pictures Networks said that the tournament has garnered a cumulative reach of 99.3 million on its network with 69.3 million reach coming from live matches in the first nine days. Reach is the number of target households in thousands where the event was viewed for at least one minute.

Female and rural viewership, the two unlikely attributes associated with the football tournament in India, seem to be contributing. Sony said while female viewership has contributed to 46% of the reach of the tournament, 41% of the total reach is coming from the rural markets.

West Bengal (14.8 million ) is the top market contributing to the overall reach of Fifa’s television viewership followed by Kerala (14.5 million), North-East (8.4 million) and Maharashtra (7.1 million).

SPN said that the average viewership for prime-time games (being aired between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm) for the first nine days has been 4.8 million impressions with each viewer spending an average of 145 minutes on the tournament.

The broadcast network, which is eyeing a total viewership of 45 million from its over-the-top platform SonyLIV, said that over 18 million viewers live streamed football matches in the first nine days of the tournament.

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