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IPL viewership slump worries advertisers

Last updated on: April 12, 2012 14:54 IST

IPL viewership slump worries advertisers

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Varada Bhat and Viveat Susan Pinto in Mumbai

Blame it on fatigue, format or form, television ratings for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament has been the lowest ever among the editions of the tournament till now.

According to TAM Sports, a unit of TAM Media Research Pvt Ltd, the average television viewer rating for the first six matches, has fallen sharply to 3.76.

The fourth season (last year) had a rating of 4.63.

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Photographs: IPL/Getty Images

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TVRs reflect the percentage of viewers watching a programme at a particular time.

Also, IPL-5 has reached 90.1 million viewers; IPL-4 got 101.7 million. Media planners and advertisers are concerned at the poor showing.

"Brands have tied up with IPL at a premium. Obviously, its low performance is an issue," said a media buyer, on condition of anonymity.

Advertisement rates from season one to season four had risen nearly 20 per cent each time.

This year, however, it has seen a commensurate fall of 15-20 per cent over last year.

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Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
Tags: IPL , IPL-5 , IPL-4

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Expectations

"I don't find the ratings surprising. I was expecting it. Certainly, fatigue and India's sub-par performance on foreign soil has been instrumental in taking the sheen off cricket," said Suresh Balakrishna, chief executive officer, LMG.

Rohit Gupta, president, Multi-Screen Media, which runs SET Max, the official telecaster for the tournament, said, "It's too early to comment, as the tournament still has to pick up. There are a few matches which have registered a rating above 5."

He also said with the stadium being a full house, viewership would pick up as the the series progressed.

The point was endorsed by a few media planners.

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Photographs: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

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Shubha George, chief operating officer, South Asia, MEC, says, "I am not overly worried about the viewership of the first few matches. Viewership will pick up."

The first match, between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, had a TVR of 6.9. The second, between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils, was 6.5, according to some media planners.

Vodafone, the on-ground and presenting sponsor, says it is premature to comment.

"IPL for us has delivered well, both in terms of efficiency of reach and effectiveness of on-ground engagement.

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"It is still the biggest mass media property in the country.

"The quality of the cricket played will finally determine how successful it is and how important it will remain in the future," a company spokesperson said.

However, there are advertisers who seem happy with their decision to stay out of IPL.

One is Hyundai, which says its decision was linked to falling viewership and pricing issues.

"We also have global commitments with the ICC (International Cricket Council) and have, hence, opted to be with ICC tournaments than IPL," says Arvind Saxena, director, sales & marketing, Hyundai India.

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Image: Virender Sehwag.
Photographs: Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images

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Godrej Group officials also said the disparity between viewership and pricing was key to their decision to opt out of IPL this year.

The first four years saw Godrej, an associate sponsor, use the property to relaunch its master brand, connect with consumers and even advertise its aerospace division. This year, the channel has managed just four sponsors -- Vodafone, Pepsi, Idea and Tata Photon.

There were 10 on-air ones last year, including Vodafone, Pepsi, Cadbury-Kraft, LG, Samsung, Godrej and Airtel DTH.

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Ahead

Last year, SET Max had raked in revenue in excess of Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion), thanks to almost 70 advertisers it had on-air.

This year, revenue could be much less.

A slump in cricket-related advertising had set in last year, after an overdose of the sport, with the World Cup and IPL in quick succession, and India's poor performance.

Some experts are now concerned about the falling ratings that won't bode well for broadcasters, which have more cricket in line.





Tags: IPL , SET , India

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