Indian Premiere League has always been popular among fans, and by the time it reaches close to the playoffs, the picture becomes clear as to which team is going ahead. The ratings for this year’s IPL also reflect that. However, this year, the tournament had to contend with the Lok Sabha Elections, which garnered intense interest amongst voters across India. Thus, the impact and the viewership was affected.
We analyse the IPL ratings till May 10 and also speak to the key sponsors on their views regarding the ratings so far.
The all India ratings for the key matches involving the key teams are above the 3.0 mark. The opening match between KKR and MI had the highest all India rating of 3.7. After that, no match came close to that figure except the May 6 match between MI and RCB. The matches involving CSK, KXIP, MI, KKR, RR and RCB have been attracting viewership, while the all India ratings for the Delhi matches have been steep till May 10.
Demographics affect viewership
Demography-wise, Mumbai has got the highest TVR among all states. In the eight matches of Mumbai till May 10, the TVR crossed the 6.0-mark four times and the 7.0-mark once. It is followed by Kolkata and Delhi.
Although, the All India viewership of Sony Six has been less as compared to Set Max , the viewership of Sony Six (with English commentary) has been higher in the non-HSM areas. Matches in Bangalore and Chennai are watched more on Sony Six. While in Chennai, the highest TVR recorded was 4.7 on May 7, in case of Bangalore the highest rating was 4.9 on May 9.
Sponsors reactions to the ratings
Many brands have lined for IPL7 and many more are buying ad spots. Sectors such as e-commerce, telecom, auto, consumer durables, electrical appliances, FMCG, personal care, and so on, have pumped in significant money this year. The marketers have mixed responses over the TVRs, which in a way depend on their objective of associating with IPL this year.
Nikhil Sharma, Head of Marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India (associate sponsor on Max and Six) India said, “The IPL looks set to cross the audience reached in 2013. That makes the tournament a perfect fit for a mass consumed category like sugar confectionary. With the elections over and the tournament back in India, the ratings will only become better. Also, the number of close finishes has brought in even more interest in matches.”
Another associate sponsor of the tournament, Big Bazaar, also echoes Perfetti’s sentiments. Sandeep Tarkas, President - Consumer Strategy and CEO (Future Media & T24), Future Group remarked, “The ratings till now have been reasonably high. We expect the ratings to surge as the elections are over and people might now come back to the tournament viewing. As long as the excitement goes in the tournament, which till now has been very high owing to tight match finishes, I believe the consumer interest will be sustained.”
Deepak Abbot, AVP, Paytm, which has tied up with the title sponsor Pepsi, feels that the ratings have been not as high as they used to be. “The interest has been subdued, but I firmly believe that as the tournament moves towards the final stages it would be more interesting and more and more people will join the IPL bandwagon,” he added.
Samar Singh Shekhawat, SVP, Marketing, United Breweries, added here, “There has been a marginal decline in viewership. We believe that it is going to happen every five years because of the Lok Sabha elections. By the time the first 10 matches were played in India, half the tournament was already over. I do not see a significant surge in the tournament now. However, the reach of the tournament has consistently expanded. The viewer interest is difficult to maintain. Even after the elections, the swearing-in day of the PM will witness lesser viewership for IPL. I also believe that the IPL player auctions should not happen as frequently as it happens. People at least need to have a sustained connect with their team members, which get hampered because the team members change.”
However, Multi Screen Media, the official broadcaster of IPL, has always maintained that the reach of IPL has expanded consistently, a view which has been echoed and endorsed by all the marketers. In an earlier interaction with exchange4media, Neeraj Vyas, EVP and Business Head, Set Max had mentioned, “The reach of the tournament has increased tremendously. IPL still is the fastest reach building platform. After the Lok Sabha elections, the viewership is likely to expand.”