Though the online viewership for the sixth season of the Indian Premier league (IPL) has been steadily increasing and has gone from strength to strength according to WAM, an offering from IMRB International, it has been observed that the television consumption for IPL has been gradually slipping.
While the online viewership has been pegged at 52 per cent, the television viewership has observed a sharp decline. According to viewership data for CS 4+, the average GRPs for HSM markets for the first five weeks of IPL season 6 for both Max and Six channels combined is 279 as compared to IPL 5 in 2012, which garnered an average of 317 GRPs. This implies that there has been a decline of around 13.6 per cent as compared to last year’s numbers.
Also, according viewership data for CS 4+, the tournament average for the first five weeks of IPL 6 has been 3.0 (all India) and 3.1 (HSM). This is in stark contrast to ratings of 3.4 and 3.6 for all India and HSM markets, respectively.
Currently the tournament average for Week 6 of IPL is 2.9 all India, which implies a drop of around 14 per cent as compared to the previous year. Also, for HSM markets the average has been 3.0, a drop of around 15 per cent.
Apart from Weeks 4 and 5 of IPL, Star Plus has managed to garner relatively more points as compared to Max, which remained a close second. This is also the first time in the history of IPL that Star Plus has managed to retain its No. 1 spot with the IPL season in full swing for four weeks. The launch of new shows and movie premieres have also been clear indicators to the fact that channels today are no longer threatened by IPL and believe that both can co-exist.
Why the decline?
According to research experts, the drop in GRPs and Tournament Average Ratings is essentially attributed to two important developments. The first is the introduction of DAS while the second is the introduction of LC1 coverage in TAM. With DAS Phase 2 coming into force in Week 14 of 2013, there has been rampant switching off of analog signals across 38 cities, which has impacted not just IPL ratings, but ratings of other channel as well. Also LC1, which was not reported till last year, now accounts for 25 per cent weightage in HSM markets. These LC1 markets are hence pulling down the overall ratings at the HSM level.
Lack of experimentation is also one of the significant reasons behind the ratings dip, believes expert. Rationalising on the same, Anindya Ray, Vice President, Lodestar UM stated, “The property is more of the same at the end of the day. There also has been no novelty value which has led to erosion over a longer period of time due to which the evaluation factor has also dropped down. Also, globally we have seen international championship leagues following a high tier system, which helps maintain the general interest level.”
Experts also believe that the ongoing spot fixing controversy has dented the image of the property. Audiences today expect to watch a tournament which is devoid of favoritism, politics and played in true sportsmanship spirit. Also, an overdose of glitz and glamour doesn’t essentially translate into high viewership, caution experts.
But revenue remains unaffected
Though the ratings of IPL 6 have observed a setback, the revenue continues to paint a rosy picture. The hike in ad rates has led to speculation of MSM raking in ad revenues of above Rs 800 crore, as has been reported earlier. Commenting on the same, Ray stated, “There are different levels of impact. IPL has always been associated with the aspiration factor. It has also been known to create the maximum impact in a relative short term which would continue to attract advertisers. Also, usually there is always a set of change in ad rates in the beginning, middle and end of matches.”
With IPL being a highly evaluated property, brands such as Godrej launched a series of new TVCs to create maximum buzz. But all said and done, media experts believe that a little bit of rationalisation is required in such situations across parties since spending more than required to gain brand visibility doesn’t ensure a long term brand recall. Experts also believe that though the advertising revenues have caught on towards the second half, the starting ad rates were much lower than that of IPL 5 in 2012.