The 12th edition of Indian Premier League has witnessed a significant jump in reach as well as average viewership in the first weekend, said the league’s official broadcast partner Star India citing BARC PreView data. The preview service allows subscribers to access the data of a specific event or show three days after it is telecast.
Star India said it reached 219 million television viewers across the country (urban and rural, television and out of home) for the first three matches held on 23 and 24 March, registering a 31% jump over previous year. The reach in Hindi speaking markets (HSM) grew by 30% to 79 million on the opening day, compared to 60 million a year ago, while in South, reach was up by 20% for the match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Reach is total number of individuals who viewed the event for at least one minute.
The average impressions for the first three days were 105 million, a 29% jump over last year. Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.
“The opening weekend was really strong. We are particularly excited because IPL 2019 has already crossed the viewership numbers we did last year at the beginning of the tournament. The investments made this year including a customised family feed on Star Gold, regional sports channels launch and strong marketing campaign has worked for us," said Gautam Thakar, chief executive, Star Sports.
As a part to enhance the regional viewership, the network is telecasting matches on recently launched Star Sports Bangla along with Tamil and the more recently launched Kannada and Telugu channels.
“The localization strategy is working well for us. This could be our biggest IPL ever because 2018 was our first year hosting the league which has helped us learn valuable lessons," added Thakar.
There were speculations about television reach owing to on-ground connectivity issue of channels since TRAI’s new tariff order. However, Thakar said that although media experts have raised concerns around TRAI tariff order and the potential confusion it has created; the viewership figures are encouraging.
“The on-ground work on channel distribution is improving every day. We feel that IPL will set the tone for World Cup which is a bigger property in terms of reach. The viewership momentum will continue, the advertisers will be delighted and there will great months of the cricket going forward," he said.
The network is currently airing IPL live across 24 channels, up from 10 channels last year. The channels include network’s sports channel channel Star Sports across languages. It also includes movie channel Star Gold (Hindi), Star Maa Movies (Telugu), Hungama (kids), Vijay Super (Tamil), Asianet Plus (Malayalam), Star Suvarna (Kannada), Jalsha Movies (Bengali) and Star Pravah (Marathi).
Meanwhile, on Star’s video streaming platform Hotstar, the first four IPL matches have collectively garnered a viewership of 135 million.