Ten Sports, of late, found various reasons to be in the news and all revolving around the Indo–Pak cricket series. Ratings indicate that the series delivered well for the channel. But the graphs have stopped to climb with its culmination. How does the channel view this? “We still continue to be highest in the category,” said Sharmista Rijhwani, MD, Taj Television India Pvt. Ltd.
Needless to say that the Indo-Pak series gave Ten Sports all-time high channel share figures of 7.83 in week 12, 10.61 in week 13 and 6.96 in week 14, the peak cricket weeks. If the numbers from week one to week nine are observed, the highest that the channel garnered was 1.08 in week two. If the numbers post the series are examined, week 17, 18 and 19 see the channel move between 1.1 and 1.61. In itself, the channel share figures have not changed much.
To this Rijhwani explained, “It is true that our overall channel shares have dipped but we continue to retain the leadership position within the sports genre and by a distance. If you compare the ratings with the others in the category you will see that since the completion of Indo-Pak, the week-on-week ratings continuously indicate that more than 60 per cent of sports viewing time is spent on Ten Sports. These figures indicate that viewers continue to show preference for the channel.”
In terms of marketshare for week 17, Ten Sports holds a 68 per cent as against ESPN’s 19 per cent, STAR Sports 8 per cent and DD Sports 5 per cent. In week 18, Ten’s share comes down to 54 per cent, ESPN goes to 26 per cent, STAR Sports to 12 per cent and DD Sports is at 8 per cent. However, in week 18 again Ten Sports increases to 65 per cent, ESPN comes to 20 per cent, STAR Sports comes at 10 per cent and DD Sports at 5 per cent. The figures do give Ten a leadership position, a case that never took place in the initial weeks of the year.
Looking at the cricket period more closely, Rijhwani explained, “The series has garnered excellent figures and it would do much better if it remained exclusive to us. Indo–Pak cricket was historic and I believe that the quality of our production and presentation enhanced viewer enjoyment, which consequently strengthened our connection with the viewers.”
Seconding that, Rajiv Gopinath, Media Director, Madison Media, said, “The matches have done better than what we were expecting, both one-days and Tests. In effect, it meant that many more people have spent time on the channel.”
Pratibha Vinayak, Carat, echoes this: “These aren’t numbers that are easy to get. So, in that sense, the series turned out to be a winner and more importantly did very well for the channel on the whole.”
Explaining that further, she said: “For one thing, the channel’s distribution has seen significant change. And also, the channel got an excellent opportunity to showcase its other properties. With the amount of people who have sampled the channel during the series, there would be numbers that the channel should be able to retain.”
As per Rijhwani, that is exactly what Ten did. “Apart from cricket, people saw properties like FA cup soccer, Olympic Hockey Qualifiers, Wrestlemania and so on. Also we could promote the forthcoming line-up like the French Open, Copa America and Tour de France to name a few,” she said.
There are a few changes in the channels programming post the series. The channel is now laying more stress on live international sport, particularly cricket. Rijhwani informed that one indication of the channel doing better now is the increase in the number of advertisers on the channel. She said, “There are brands from new categories coming in like GSK, Candico, IOCL, etc. in this period and they have stayed on.”
Sharing more about the forthcoming plans of the channel, Rijhwani divulged that the channel will aggressively bid to acquire rights for the upcoming Asia Cup, BCCI rights and the Tri-nation tourney in Europe. She said, “Now that we have agreements with most cable networks nationwide the channel is available across the country. We are confident that we will continue with the same momentum post the India-Pak series and will maintain our leadership position among all sports channels.”
(TAM Media Research’s ratings calculated on the All India markets for target C&S 4+)