The ratings of Samsung Cup’s first match are a surprise for media planners, and not a pleasant one at that. The Indo-Pak cricket series, along with elections has probably been the most spoken-about topic in the media circles. Lots of money was invested in the property to a considerable extent. However, if figures are anything to go by, it doesn’t appear that investments are really worth the returns.
Let’s look at the ratings to understand what the Indo-Pak battle looked like when it translated to TRPs. For all the new TAM markets in the target C&S 4+, the March 13, 2004 match garnered a 7.8 and DD managed a 6.37. For the C&S ABC Males 15+ the ratings are higher with a 10.11 for Ten Sports and 7.82 for DD. If the target is considered without the C&S parameter, the ratings for the target All 4+ for DD is 9.7 and 4.7 for Ten Sports. In this category too, there is a larger proportion of males with 10.5 for DD for all male ABC 15+ and 6.93 at Ten Sports.
So, are we looking at good numbers here? “The numbers are way below expectations,” says R Gowthaman, Director, Planning Services, Mindshare Fulcrum, “Our expectations for these matches were benchmarked according to the ratings that the Indo-Pak match in the World Cup grossed. Accordingly, what we were looking at for the C&S target was in the vicinity of at least a 15 on DD and 12 on Ten Sports.”
That would explain the disappointment in the media fraternity. Given that it is not wrong to call ‘cricket’ the thing with the Indian audience, why does he think that the ratings were so low. Gowthaman replies, “There is no sure reason why this is the case. However, one way to look at it is that after the World Cup match, TAM has changed quite a lot in terms of its markets. Perhaps now with the lower town strata coming in the picture, this just might be indicator of the real picture.”
But what about the investments made for the match? Has the advertiser truly stood to gain with such figures? “Well, the CPRPs have gone for a toss,” exclaims Gowthaman. Prasanth Kumar, Associate Media Director, Universal McCann, however, has a different opinion on this. Says he: “With the whole DD telecasting coming in the picture and the fact that ads will be same from the second match onwards, I think that is a point where the advertisers benefit. They are getting an additional spot free of cost. For the first match also, people who bought properties like signage, replay logos and other on ground visibility definitely got more than what they bargained for.”
Even in context to ratings, Kumar has a more positive point of view. While he agrees that the ratings are below what was expected, one way to look at it is that the C&S proportion that DD garnered in comparison to the ratings for all the audience is a good one. This, according to him, is a positive indicator.
Another thing that both planners agree on is that they are expecting better ratings for the next matches. The matches to come rather must deliver better ratings as the advertisers have paid quite a premium to get place on the Indo-Pak series. Irrespective of whether the ratings generated have fallen prey to problems like connectivity or high expectations, they have failed to exact the required enthusiasm from the media planners.
This has been certainly a strange phenomenon, as audience at large seemed pretty excited by the series. They wait as far as they are concerned is for the last match to be played in Lahore in a day’s time. We would have to wait another week before finding out if ratings indeed increased with the matches that followed.