The 12-week trend from week 35 to 46 week of the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) on sports channels show Neo Cricket as the clear leader among the sports channels. Ten Sports and Zee Sports are comfortably placed at the second and third positions. While the top three slots have fixed winners, channels like ESPN, Star Sports, Star Cricket, Neo Sports and DD Sports are struggling to increase their numbers.
Cricket lovers couldn’t ask for more, what with the much awaited Champions League beginning from December 3 on ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket. The India-Australia four Test series aired exclusively on Neo Cricket certainly had a positive impact on the channel, which has been witnessing a constant rise in its viewership share week 40 onwards. The channel share of Neo Cricket was at its peak on week 44, which ended on 3.96 per cent of the market share, however, the latest week 46 ended at 3.88 per cent.
Next in line is Ten Sports, which has maintained its No. 2 position. The 12-week trends show Ten Sports climbing the ladder, with the channel at its peak on week 35 with a 4.93 per cent share of the market, following which, the station saw a sharp drop in its market share. Week 46 of the TAM data shows Ten Sports maintaining a distant second with a share of 1.5 per cent.
Zee Sports, too, saw its market share increase since week 42. ICL, which was held between October 10 and November 16, which was aired on both Ten Sports and Zee Sports, is mostly believed to have played a huge role on the increase in the market shares of the two channels. Week 46 of Zee Sports, however, ended with a market share of 0.74 per cent.
While the three top slots were reserved by Neo Cricket, Ten Sports and Zee Sports, channels like ESPN, Star Cricket, Neo Sports, DD Sports and Star Sports appear to be stagnant in their market share with a downward trend.
With the FWICE strike still on, the sports channels are predicted to be the biggest gainers. Neo Cricket, which is currently leading in the ratings, has already increased their ad rates for the India-England series, particularly after the success of the India-Australia Test series.
Abhishek Verma, Associate Vice President – Marketing, Neo Sports, said, “We have received tremendous response from the advertisers, particularly after the success of the India-Australia Test series. Whether it was the FWICE strike, which lead to the GECs repeat shows or even the India-Australia series and now the India- England series, it has helped us in both ways. Following a good response from all sides, we have also hiked our ad rates to Rs 2.75 lakh for the ongoing India-England series.” That the Indian team is on a roll has further helped ratings.
Chandradeep Mitra, President, Mudra Max, said, “If a new channel wants to enter the already cluttered market, it needs to have good content, and unless this happens, you can say there isn’t much space for its survival. For the success of other sports in India, you would require an Indian to perform at an international level. Sports also need to be well organised and marketed, and above all, there has to be money in that sport.”