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IPL 5: It's wait-and-watch as TRPs show consistent decline after first 6 matches

The media fraternity feels that advertisers are cautious after five seasons as they are looking at ROI rather than just hype

IPL 5: It’s wait-and-watch as TRPs show consistent decline after first 6 matches

The media fraternity feels that advertisers are cautious after five seasons as they are looking at ROI rather than just hype

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | April 13, 2012

Arguably, brand IPL has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster, and has proved to be a superhit formula to encash sports entertainment both by BCCI and broadcaster Max. But is the high-octane IPL glitz and glamour on the wane? Comparing the average TRPs of the first 6 matches of all five IPL seasons, one sees a consistent declining trend. However, one must also keep in mind that being a cricket event the tournament can always attain its peak towards the end when the excitement level goes up.

Commenting on the declining viewership trend, Naveen Khemka, Senior Vice-President, ZenithOptimedia India, said, “The initial euphoria of the IPL has stabilised. We cannot expect ratings to increase every year. The unique format has got a decent following.”

Khemka further said, “In the initial years it was a new form of entertainment – cricket plus Bollywood. The nation went crazy. Controversies kept the interest alive. With increasing number of teams and matches, it is impossible to sustain the hysteria. The interest levels are bound to get divided and regional depending on the teams playing.”

Sidharth Parasher, National Trading Head, Maxus, thinks it is too early to make a value judgement. He said, “Though ratings look slightly on the lower side, it’s too early make a judgment, given the length of the event is almost two months and lot of dynamics impacting viewership will come into play as the event progresses.”

On the decline in TVR this season, Parashar explained, “There could be various reasons, the kind of matches this year versus last season, difference between the 4 PM and 8 PM matches, weekend versus weekday matches, etc.”

But is there a saturation point? Hariharan Vishwanath, National Trading Director, MEC India, who is in-charge of the study on IPL viewership undertaken by MEC every year, does not see IPL 5 beating the IPL4 ratings. According to him, it should stabilise at an Average TVR of 3.4 - 3.8, which is good.

TRPs are definitely directly related to the broadcaster’s pocket, and Khemka sees a positive side. He said, “The broadcaster has a winner on its hands. Nobody imagined five years back that IPL will become so big globally. They are in it for the long term. It is important for them to look at the returns from IPL over a period of time than at a point in time.”

Vishwanath however contradicts Khemka. “There will be a lot of fence-sitters who might be waiting for the first week rating to decide. The ratings have been low with negative growth, so those advertisers may rethink on their investments… that will have an impact on Max,” he said.

Be that as it may, there is an element of caution in the market. Khemka explained, “Brands have become cautious. Just because it is IPL is not reason enough for them to be willing to pay a premium. They want it at the right price as every marketing rupee spent is under pressure due to margins. As a result some brands have taken a wait-and-watch policy. They will get in only if they are sure the ROI is effective.”

Parashar holds a similar view, saying that brands have not lost interest in IPL. “Advertisers who would be keen to come on board but were waiting for ratings to come in, might take some more time to take their decision,” he averred.

Still there are chances of improvement with a few additional efforts. Vishwanath is optimistic of a pick-up in ratings. He said, “I expect the channel to put more efforts in terms of marketing to keep the interest level going…Recovery will be there during weekends which can help the overall tournament numbers.”

Talking on the rating pattern with the progress of the tournament, Khemka said, “Advertisers sitting on the fence will convert at the right value. They will look at the opportunity cost of the investment rather than the fact it is IPL. Ratings will follow a similar pattern like previous years – the first week and last week will be the highest rated. It is bound to dip as we move into week 3 to week 6.”

Said Parashar, “It’s a wait and watch situation, a lot of dynamics are in play on the event, which can swing ratings. If the reach went down by around 10 per cent, and cumulative reach by around 10 million, it indicates time spent on matches has remained constant.”

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