The inaugural DLF IPL Tournament got off to a spectacular start. Given the huge stakes involved, the League is being keenly observed by advertising and media professionals. In order to better understand the Twenty20 format and IPL, TAM Media Research has come up with some data reflecting the latest trends in viewership pattern of cricket in India.
T20 World Cup versus World Cup 2007
Viewership of the World Cup 2007 plummeted once India was out of the contention. However, at the T20 World Cup, as revealed by TAM data in the table below, the situation was quite the opposite with India going right up to the finals and eventually winning the Cup.
As can be seen from the chart above on TV viewing trends of World Cup 2007, team loyalty towards India saw viewing commitment from TV audience right up till the Group matches where India played almost till the end (in blue). However, after India’s exit from the Group series, viewership (the yellow section) not only fell but went flat, almost till the end, picking up a bit only towards the finals (in Red).
However, the Twenty20 World Cup was a different story altogether, thanks to India’s superb performance. As can be seen in the chart above, here too because of loyalty towards Team India, eyeballs followed right up till the finals. Team factor played a stronger role in sustaining eyeballs.
Compared to the team factor playing a major role, individual player loyalty did not have much influence on viewership. As per the TAM data (shown in the table below), viewership remained low even when Harsha Bhogle brought the favourite cricketers on screen. This gives a kind of road map to IPL: ‘Every communication about a team has to focus on building emotional attachment, and loyal in other words, so that viewers not only from the team’s domicile market, but also outside it, bring in their support.’
The battle between bat and ball. Who wins finally?
Moving towards cricketing aspects, data suggests that Indians love to see their team bat. The table given below clearly indicates this phenomena, be World Cup 2007, T20 World Cup or India-Pakistan matches. If we notice the T20 cup area, it certain suggests that this format should be a batting platform.
Whose game is it anyway?
Talking about viewership in age groups, does T20 attract only the youngsters? According to the data, during the T20 World Cup last year, youths in the 15-24 age group contributed to the maximum amount of match viewing as compared to other age groups.
Metros versus the non-metros
In both World Cup 2007 and T20 World Cup 2007, it came out prominently that markets other than the metros contributed to more than half of TV viewing. This is a very important observation as it means is that the sport, cricket in this case, as well as the channel telecasting the sport, will have to build viewer loyalties from markets well beyond the metros.
For IPL specifically, though the teams are based across eight cities and towns, to gain healthy viewership, viewer loyalty will have to be developed from well beyond those eight markets.
To sum up
For IPL to be able to garner healthy viewership, it will have to take concrete steps in developing audience from every possible market. Which means a very well planned and engaging communication will have to be rolled out and sustained till the end. Further, every communication needs to focus on building team loyalty and not building individual player loyalty. Specially focusing on the youth should pay added dividends. Lastly, as per the reflections of 2007, the Indian audience loves the batting experience.