Football-frenzied fans in India were slow on catching up with the excitement as the FIFA World Cup 2010 kicked off in Johannesburg on Friday. But when they did get into the act, TV-viewership rates shot up from previous highs.
The opening game between hosts South Africa and Mexico saw a dip in viewership from the 2006 season - almost 29,000 less people switched on their television sets. However, viewership for the second match between Uruguay and France had more than doubled compared to the second match of the 2006 season.
According to overnight TV audience monitoring agency aMap, the first match of FIFA World Cup 2006 between Germany and Costa Rica had clocked 1.971 million viewers in the top six metros, but on Friday only 1.942 million people tuned into their TV sets.
The match between Uruguay and France was watched by 1.183 million Indian fans - almost double the number of viewers for the second match between Poland and Ecuador at 0.546 million in 2006. Interestingly, TV ratings - that calculates the duration of how long viewers are watching a certain programme - for both matches of the opening day of the 2006 tournament were higher than the matches played on Friday.
This means that viewers in 2006 saw the matches for a longer period of time than they did on the first day of this season. A comparison of viewership of the first day of FIFA 2002 season and FIFA 2006 by TAM peoplemeter showed that the opening-day viewership of FIFA 2006 had seen a jump of 33 per cent over the first day of FIFA 2002. "One of the reasons for this increase could certainly be that FIFA 2006 was being aired during the Indian Prime Time (between 9.30 pm and 11 pm)," said the TAM report.