The IPL 2018 is past its halfway mark and we have seen some cracking encounters. Only one team has made it into the playoffs and only one team has been eliminated from the race for the top four finish. Six teams are vying for the remaining three spots at the top.
However, exciting cricket and nerve wrecking encounters have only resulted in a disappointing 11% over last year despite official broadcaster Star India Pvt. Ltd airing the tournament across its 10 channels as compared to just five last year when Sony held the rights.
IPL 11 clocked 731.3 million impressions compared to 660.2 million in IPL10 after 30 matches according to data by TV rating agency, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Impressions or television viewership in thousands (TVT) has replaced television rating point (TRP) to determine the popularity of an event.
“11% is low for sure. We had hoped the reach of the tournament would increase given that Star India has roped in regional channels to air the tournament. Viewership fatigue seems to be setting in, although the numbers pick up when teams start to get eliminated closer to the second half of the tournament,” said Anita Nayyar, the chief executive officer of Havas Media Group (India and South Asia).
Apart from its usual sports channels, Star India is broadcasting the IPL 11 on many of its regional channels as well, including Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Movies and Star Jalsha.
“If I was Star, I would be disappointed with the 11% increase. It’s definitely not going to satisfy them,” said an anonymous sports marketing executive.
Viewership picked up in the fourth week at 35%, for the nine matches played between April 28 and May 4. IPL 11 clocked 196 million impressions in the fourth week compared to 145 a year ago.
Cumulatively, for the first 34 matches, IPL 11 logged 832 million impressions compared to 729 million impressions a year ago, a 14% increase over last season.
In September of 2017, Star India had won the Indian and global media rights (both TV and digital) to broadcast IPL for the next five seasons for Rs 16,347.50 crore.
“We are delighted with the growth that we are seeing across markets, with growth in Urban + Rural TV viewership at a healthy 14%, Urban TV viewership at an even higher pace at 25% and consumption in Urban across screens (TV + Digital) at 40% in the first four weeks of the tournament. The tournament viewership and interest continues to expand as the league enters the race to playoffs,” said a Star India spokesperson.
Star India is aiming to reach 700+ million people this IPL 11, which is shown on 10 sports channels and its online streaming service, Hotstar.