Apart from IPL, FIFA World Cup lifted sports viewership in 2018: BARC 

As per BARC India’s ‘What India Watched In 2018’ report, the soccer world cup garnered 111 million unique viewers and 231 million impressions

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 3, 2019 8:42 AM

Indian viewers lapped up sports on TV in the year gone by, data from BARC has revealed. As per BARC India’s ‘What India Watched In 2018’ report, tournaments for Kabaddi, Wrestling, Football, Hockey, Badminton, and marquee events like FIFA World Cup and Asian Games all boosted sports viewership with their own peaks.

Availability of sports broadcast in regional languages is another factor that helped in expanding the appeal of the genre deeper into India.
Apart from cricket, another sports event that got Indians glued to their TV sets was FIFA World Cup 2018, and the viewership was high particularly in the regional centres. Kerala, Assam, North-east, Sikkim and West Bengal together contributed to 81 per cent of the total viewership for FIFA World Cup 2018. 


At 28 per cent, Kerala was the highest contributor followed by Assam, North-east, Sikkim (27 per cent) and West Bengal (25 per cent). 
FIFA World Cup 2018 managed to get a total of 111 million unique viewers and 231 million impressions. The report also shows that the HD viewer spent more time on TV watching the FIFA games than the rest of the viewers. This was true across all matches, and particularly for the final. 


While FIFA World Cup 2018 helped boost viewership for the sports genre, it also lifted Total TV viewership, the report said. 
The report also revealed that in terms of Impressions, the viewership for Hindi-only channels was a notch higher than English channels. However, the volume of advertising on English channels was much higher than on Hindi channels.


IPL obviously was also on everyone’s watchlist in 2018 as well. Star Sports Network with 17 channels managed to get 448 million unique viewers during IPL, the impressions of which comes up to a whopping 1.4 billion. This season, VIVO IPL 2019 in its opening weekend garnered 219 million viewers, 31 per cent higher than last year, as per data revealed by the broadcaster. 

Highlights of ‘What India Watched in 2018’ report:
If we go by week-wise division on what India watched in 2018 in the sports genre, IPL was a clear winner.
•    Cricket remained the big driver of sports viewership across the year. The highest peaks appeared during the IPL. 
•    Viewership for Commonwealth Games 2018 was also high. (Weeks 14-16)
•    During FIFA 2018, despite a bilateral cricket series being on fans of the “beautiful game” flocked to TV to catch all the action and registered a strong viewership even for matches that were played post midnight. (Weeks 24-29)
•    Indian sportspersons are making a mark on the global stage in multi-sport events. And the growing interest was clearly reflected in the viewership of Asian Games. (Weeks 34-36)
•    Kabaddi is fast creating a distinct space for itself, with fans identifying with their teams. It is clearly the second most watched sport on TV and dominates sports viewership when Pro Kabaddi League comes on TV. (Weeks 41-52)
•    Even as we see green-shoots of regional language sports channels, broadcasters have been putting out sports content in regional language channels of other genres like GEC and Movies. These broadcasts deliver a fifth of sports viewership.
•    Sports is the single largest genre for English language consumption. Also, in Sports, there are more channels in English than in other languages.

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