While the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is on track in a new country and heavy investments, questions are being raised about whether the event will garner as much consumer interest and TV ratings as last year. This year, IPL is also clashing with the general elections. How much will it impact the tournament?
Communications planning and implementation agency Mediaedge:cia (MEC), in its first ‘Food for Thought’ session held in Mumbai on April 8, presented an insight on consumer expectations and television ratings of IPL 2. From the methodology front, it was a face-to-face interview, spoken to 1,500 people in 10 cities conducted between March 23 and 25, 2009 post the announcement of South Africa as the new venue for the IPL 2 tournament.
The speakers included Jon Wright, Regional Director, MediaLab - Asia Pacific MEC, and Shubha George, Managing Director, MEC India.
Commencing the presentation, Wright spoke on the methodology of the whole survey conducted, the challenges and the approach taken at the time of conducting the study on topics that were relevant to the brands and consumers.
Wright explained, “IPL last year had a fantastic launch with a one-of-a-kind launch, which became very successful. In 2009, however, there are many challenges, new foreign players, new locations and schedules, the upcoming national elections and the economic slowdown. Our challenge nevertheless was to predict what was going to happen with reasonable predictions on television ratings. The approach taken at that time was based partly about consumer involvement in Season Two and the overall interest in few teams and players.”
As per MEC estimates, IPL 2 could see an average of 7 percent drop in ratings on an average of 59 league matches. However, not all the matches played would see less than 7 percent drop in ratings, in fact, the distribution of ratings this year is said to be more uneven than last year. The MEC poll study also shows that Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, and Mumbai Indians are likely to get better ratings than last year. In fact, the estimates further show that the opening match played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings on April 18, might get 9.4 ratings, followed by Chennai Super Kings versus Mumbai Indians on May 16, which might get 9.3 ratings, whereas Mumbai Indians Versus Rajasthan Royals match, which would be played on May 14, might see 9.2 ratings.
George pointed out that it was the identifying factors that influenced the overall growth ratings and individual match ratings. She classified the factors that influenced the overall ratings into macro factors and individual factors, wherein macro factors included the change in venue and the impact of the general elections. The individual factors included popularity of the team, the players and the schedule of the matches.
George further noted, “Had there been no elections and if all else were equal, then the ratings would have undoubtedly been far higher than Season One.”
Wright concluded by saying that if the IPL success story had to be continued, then innovation was the key as it brought in big success.