VIVO IPL 2017 registers 40 per cent spike in viewership in first three matches

High scores of VIVO IPL 2017’S first three matches and expansion of BARC universe led to a 40 per cent hike in viewership ratings compared to last year, this also helped Sony MAX to reach the second spot in BARC’s Top 10 channels recently

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Apr 18, 2017 8:41 AM
VIVO IPL 2017 registers 40 per cent spike in viewership in first three matches

VIVO IPL 2017, aired on Sony MAX, SIX and ESPN had a phenomenal reach of 185.7 million viewers in the first three matches, according to audience measurement agency, BARC. More importantly, there has been a significant growth of 40 per cent in impressions (for first three matches) from the last season to the current one.  In fact, the IPL has catapulted Sony MAX to second spot in BARC’s Top 10 Channels in the Across Genres category, with it garnering 853 million impressions.

Neeraj Vyas, Senior EVP & Business Head, Sony MAX cluster, SPN, credits this spike in viewership to high scores of the first three matches and expansion of the BARC universe as he says, “It has lot to do with the expansion of BARC universe.”

Vyas expects the viewership to remain steady for the first two weeks. “The first three matches had high scores unlike the previous years where 170 or 180 score would happen only after a week or 10 days.  This will remain steady for a while. With Virat Kohli coming in the excitement will only increase. My instinct is that ratings will remain stable for the first two weeks, comparable to this week. After that it, of course, depends on the nature of the game. Overall there has been growth from all sides,” he adds.

The opening match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 5 fetched 28.3 million impressions while the second match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants on April 6 garnered 30.3 million impressions. The third one between Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders on April 7 brought in 29.7 million impressions. In the previous season, the first three matches garnered somewhere between 20 million and 24 million impressions.

VIVO IPL 10 T20 Sunrisers Hyderabad/Royal Challengers Bangalore 28.3 Million Impressions
VIVO IPL 10 T20 Mumbai/Rising Pune Supergiants 30.3 Million Impressions
VIVO IPL 10 T20 Gujarat Lions/Kolkata Knight Riders 29.7 Million Impressions
VIVO IPL-9 T20 Mumbai Indians/Rising Pune Supergiants 24.4 Million Impressions
VIVO IPL-9 T20 Delhi Daredevils/Kolkata Knight Riders 17.8 Million Impressions
VIVO IPL-9 T20 Kings XI Punjab/Gujarat Lions 20.9 Million Impressions

Vyas also factored in the overall ‘great’ quality of cricket (in terms of recent matches) that brought in positive ratings, saying, “Since the last six to eight months the ratings of cricket have been constantly growing. The India-England test matches, ODIs and T20s had phenomenal ratings. Same goes for India-Australia test matches which were received extremely well. Cricket viewing is back.”

Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media Group, India and South Asia, also attributes the increase in viewership to the good quality of matches coupled with a strong youth connect. “Games per se are bringing in a lot of viewers. Matches with many young players are connecting with the youth, which has increased viewership. We have to dissect and see if the viewership has grown in the youth age bracket. As a game it's becoming younger. Whether the young players are getting connected with the youth and hence the viewership is increasing or whether the regular cricket lovers love the new guys who are coming, all of them are performing very well,” says Nayyar, who like Vyas, also credited the increased viewership to the recent expansion of the BARC universe.

Dinesh Vyas, Associate VP (Planning) at OMD, on the other hand, doesn’t find the spike in viewership ratings surprising. He says, “The IPL viewership follows a certain trend. The first 10-15 matches always start off with great (viewership) numbers, then it subsides in the middle and again picks up during the quarters, semis and finals. The trend is still similar and it will not change this year. IPL offers a great opportunity, more specifically this year, for brands to put in money after demonetisation. Hence, it has started off on a high.”

He adds, “When it comes to comparison with last year, the number of people connected to cable and television is anyway going up. BARC universe has also expanded. IPL is entertainment more than cricket. Also, it comes at a time when people have more free time with exams being over and most people still not travelling.”

Nayyar also feels that the tenth year has a lot to do with the increase in viewership, as she says, “Each year Sony has different themes around IPL.  Everyone is aware that it's IPL’s 10th year with Sony. They don't know how it's going to pan out next year. Sony has beautifully played on this emotion of 10 years. It's one form of cricket which is cricket plus entertainment so it's increasingly connecting with the viewers.”

One would assume that this increasing viewership is bound to bring in more brands to the table, that too immediately. But Nayyar has a different take on it, as she adds, “As far as the viewership hike is concerned brands will wait towards the end. Normally if you see the graph, it builds up towards the end. There are lots of brands who will wait for the second half to build that confidence that allows Sony to make more money.”

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