IPL 2020 set to score 25% more viewers on TV than last season  

The viewership profile this time is expected to include first-time viewers due to the dearth in fresh content, experts say

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 8:33 AM
IPL 2020

The Indian Premier League has emerged as one of the most awaited cricket series, not just among viewers but also broadcasters and advertisers and this year it’s going to be no different. In fact, industry people are predicting that the viewership for this cricketing extravaganza will be at least 25% higher than the last season.  

According to Chandra Dobhal, Executive Vice President, Amplifi India, Dentsu Aegis Network, “Every season of IPL has set a new record and a new benchmark for the next season and the thirteenth season is going to be no exception. After films, cricket is the next biggest form of entertainment in the country and IPL is a festival of cricket and entertainment. Also, the pandemic has not been able to dampen the spirits of those who celebrate the sport. The 13th season is expected to see at least 25% growth in viewership on both TV and digital, if not more.”

Talking of records, BARC data shows that IPL, which made its debut in 2008, has been getting bigger on TV each year and registering an increase in viewers each season.  

In 2019, 424 million viewers (which is 51% of the total TV viewing population) watched the matches live. (BARC data stats below)

The data also says an additional 9% watched the tournament in restaurants and other such out-of-home locations. While the later spots might be out of the scene this year, the stay-at-home crowd is expected to more than compensate for the same.

Elaborating on this, Siddharth Devnani, Co-founder and Director, SoCheers, says: “The surge in OTT subscribers along with the lack of restaurants and bars, where fans would have otherwise thronged, will also drive the increase in the number of screens on which IPL will be viewed this year.” IPL 2020 is also expected to bring on board a new set of viewers, he said.

According to Dobhal, the viewership profile this time will include not just cricket enthusiasts but also seasonal and first-time viewers.

Highlighting the pull that IPL has in terms of bringing fresh content to drawing rooms, Deepak Sharma, Managing Director, North-Starcom MediaVest Group, said: “People have exhausted their options in terms of content to watch on both TV and OTT platforms, and they are all looking for fresh and new content.” A cricket-packed yearly calendar and a cricket-hungry country hasn’t seen cricket in the last 6-9 months, and this makes it possible for the viewership to touch much higher levels, Sharma noted.

Apart from the viewership, experts foresee a hike in ad rates too.

According to Dobhal, “The expected enhanced viewership will not just boost the popularity of the series but also push ad rates. If all goes well, right after about 20 matches have been played, the expected viewership hike will make broadcasters sell their FCT at premium rates as last-minute inventory.”

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