The Indian Oil Cup had opened to mixed reactions from the fraternity, many terming it as a cost ineffective property. However, now with the numbers available for all the matches, advertisers have something to smile about.
TAM Media Research indicates that as far as ratings are concerned, there is a clear difference in the matches where India played.
The series opened to a rating of 4.81 for the target C&S 15+ in the Hindi speaking markets. The second match delivered an 8. The third and fifth matches, where the Indian team wasn’t playing garnered 1.43 and 1.9. The fourth match took a 6.86, the sixth delivered 8.6 and the final match scored a 10.18.
When the male TG is observed, the numbers increase some more, maintaining a consistent 8 plus figure in the India matches, the final two matches throwing a 10.36 and 12, respectively.
Needless to say, the series has eaten into the shares of mass entertainment channels. Even ‘KBC 2’ saw a dip on August 7, 2005 when in the corresponding time, the match saw a peak rating of 8.48. On the day of the final match, GEC channels had a combined share of 20.88 per cent, whereas Ten Sports took a 47 per cent. The gap widens in the male TG.
For the media fraternity, these are good numbers. Delving on a reason, Lakshmi Narasimhan, National Director, Central Trading Group, GroupM, said, “I would say that one key reason is the improvement of penetration of the channel. This is one of the first cricket series after the channel has gone on the One Alliance platform and it is reflecting in the ratings.”
For Narasimhan, these numbers were clearly above expectations. “Speaking purely on ratings, these are good numbers. A factor that comes across is that ratings don’t always depend on the Indian team’s performance,” he added.
Experts concede that the matches were gripping enough to eat into the share of other channels. Agreeing with Narasimhan on the numbers being better than expected, Manish Porwal, Executive Director, Starcom (West), said, “In hind sight, the series have thrown good numbers and would have benefited the advertisers present. But this was an expensive property and more often than not, the art in such cases is in trying to do different things like what we did for our client, Western Union.”
A point that MPG’s President, Jeffrey Crasto agreed with. However, Crasto speaks more on the larger picture, attacking the on-going cricket efficiency debate. He observed, “Cricket is a constant factor with the Indian audience. We relate to it so much so that even if it is something like the Asia vs Africa match, which is airing on Zee presently, we will watch it.”
Addressing the point of cricket being an expensive buy, he said, “It is a known fact that cricket is expensive. You have to factor that in your planning.”
Porwal added, “Cricket is there to stay in India. On a larger picture, it has to be strategically bought. Nobody can afford all the tournaments, but there are plenty available to choose from. Given its pricing, the objective is important – whether there is a new story to tell, the impact you need and so on. When tactically used, it is still one of the best properties for most brands.”
The ratings of this tournament have kept Ten Sports on the high they have largely seen in the year. The side favouring cricket as a property sure has reasons to smile with these numbers. But the debate of cricket’s efficiency still goes on.