Optimism was in the air before the series started. It was touted as the best media property Indian television would have ever seen. The goodwill series was expected to be a goldmine for Ten Sports and a perfect platform for all advertisers. However, the series started and was declared a no show. In retrospect - we all spoke too soon. The series, in spite of DD jumping on the bandwagon at the nth hour has delivered and how!
United we stand: Cumulative v/s individual ratings
The first match was different in the sense that the advertisers that rode the two channels for it were completely different. Ten Sports drew ratings of 7.8 for C&S 4+ in the All India market, and for the advertisers, the situation signalled problem.
Second match onwards the scenario changed 360 degrees.
For the given TG and market, Ten Sports managed a 9.03 on day two and DD a 8.7 giving a cumulative of 17.73. Day three gives a combined figure of 13.49 with Ten Sports at 6.35 and DD at 7.14. This increase in the DD figure did not continue in the last two matches but it gave Ten Sports a tough fight getting neck to neck numbers. Day four gives a combined figure of 20.73, Ten Sports - 10.41 and DD - 10.32 and day five is the planners ultimate joy of cumulative 22.51, Ten grossing a 11.3 and DD a 11.21.
Are the figures good? "Very good," expresses Nandini Dias, National Media Director, Interface, "These numbers are better than what television's top rated programmes deliver, even if they are divided between two channels. For C&S audience, these ratings are impossible. In effect, the advertisers have gained substantially."
However, this does give rise to the question that what would the situation be had DD not aired the matches or was allowed to air separate ads. "That would turn into a big issue and Ten Sports would be in trouble," affirms Dias. She explains that even when monies were invested in the series, the planners were looking at a 100 per cent increase in distribution. "If you see in the first match, Ten Sports reach has increased by almost 50 per cent."
Dias believes that in case if DD had not entered the picture, Ten Sports would have managed an increase in distribution and garnered figures to the tune of 16 or 17. Similar is the view that Harish Shriyan, Vice President, MediaCom voices. "The very fact that you needn't search for Ten Sports when DD aired the series must have affected the ratings considerably. The channel would have done better, had DD did not presented an alternative choice."
The six metros - A different tale of three cities
Loyalties clearly stand equally divided in the six metros between the two channels. In Mumbai the fourth match gave Ten Sports a rating of 4.93 as against DD's 15.22. Where the final match increased Ten's ratings to 6.96, DD got a whopping 16.81. Chennai, being a CAS market, also meant trouble for Ten Sports. The highest that the channel garnered in this market is 0.41 on the final day. With DD getting a 18.15 and 18.6 in the final two matches, the situation is of no comparison. Another market where Ten Sports took a beat is Bangalore. Though here, the last two matches give the channel a 5.37 and a 7.11, DD's 11.84 and 13.89 means a bad beat.
Throwing light on why the channel did not perform in these cities, Sharmista Rijhwani, Managing Director, Taj Television India informs, "Certain cable operators took advantage of the free to air feed on Doordarshan and switched off Ten Sports. This affected our viewership figures in those areas."
Apparently not a case with the cable operators of other areas. In Kolkatta, the highest that DD made was on the final day with a 3.41. Ten Sports for the final two matches has scored a 21.11 and 26.17 respectively in this market. Delhi also meant more figures for Ten Sports. Though it must be mentioned that this is perhaps one case, where the final day's ratings are lower than the fourth match. The satellite channel managed a 18.64 and 17.51 respectively on the last two days as compared to the pub-caster's 5.64 and 4.9. Another market that treated Ten Sports well is Hyderabad. The fourth day meant 15.42 for Ten Sports and 4.84 for DD. The final match gave Ten 17.73 and 6.37 to DD.
And why did DD take a beat here? "I would attribute this to the lack of connectivity. Many MSOs did not show DD in their areas," replies K S Sarma, CEO, Prasar Bharati.
Though both the channels are satisfied with the ratings, they have their own share of grievances. Rijhwani expresses, "In spite of the problems we faced, we managed to reach the number 1 slot among all C&S channels. Had we relayed the matches exclusively our viewership would have reached well beyond 60 Million C&S viewers. While this figure is huge, it still does not account for the substantial chunk of out of home and community viewing that we had anticipated for this series. Existing TV Audience measurement systems cannot capture these figures however substantial."
DD's complaint is of a different nature, "Except for the first match, this series did not mean any revenue benefits for us. However, it was a court order and we had to execute it. I think that we have performed our duty as public broadcasters of bringing the matches to 90 per cent of the population that would have otherwise not watched an event of this magnitude."
However both channels see the airing of these matches and the respective samples they have drawn as a positive aspect for their respective future. Sarma believes that it means increased viewership for DD programmes in future and for Rijhwani it means a showcase of the upcoming line up on the channel of properties like French Open Tennis, South American Soccer World Cup Qualifiers, South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka amongst others.
Day v/s Day-Night matches - Women switch loyalties
The day-night matches meant a high for cricket and a dip for general entertainment. The prime time ratings of these days indicate a shift of female audience to cricket. For the C&S, female, ABC 15+ in the all India market, Zee's Astitva fell to a 0.82, 0.76 and 0.59 during the day night matches from the average 1.5 figures that it grosses. Jassi dropped to as low as 2.29 and 1.55 on March 16 and 24. The channel's repeat telecast of Jassi at 10.30 pm, on the final match day, gave it a 0.71. Kkusum's 2.27 and 1.62 further indicate a fall in numbers for mass entertainment.
However, the leader takes the biggest hit. With the exception of the late nighters, Kaahin Kissii Roz and Kahiin Tho Hoga, all the shows on STAR Plus suffered. Kahaani dipped to a 5.33 on final day, Kasautii to a 5.34, Sanjivani to a 2.65 and Kyunki, which coincided with the match only for the first half, garnered a 9.2.
Not that the advertisers lost out much here. Shriyan explains, "Even when the investments are done, cricket and that too for a day-night match, necessary care is taken."
Ten Sports, was indeed disgruntled after the first ODI, but presence of the same advertiser on Ten Sports as well as on DD brought considerable change in the scenario. While the outcry after the first match was 'nothing in comparison to world cup', advertisers ultimately got excellent RoI for their investment on the series. To what extent would this performance benefit the respective channels remains to be seen as for one, Cricket is religion in this country, two, India Pakistan series is the biggest it can get and third people watch programmes and not channels.