Along with the success of the Indian Premier League in its ninth season now, it was interesting to see how rural was contributing to 33% of the total viewership, whereas the total television viewership gets about 50% from rural
Raushni Bhagia | Mumbai | May 18, 2016
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has come out significantly well in its ninth season with the maximum reach, impressions and time spent, along with the viewership from the rural markets also contributing substantially - as much as one third of the total viewership.
The tournament continues to create a massive buzz around it and has maintained its popularity despite all its baggage of the controversies and fear of fatigue. However, it must be noted that currently in its fifth week of the ninth season of the cricketing event, IPL is - to a large extent - maintaining its television viewership numbers.
The tourney is being telecast on five channels of the Sony Pictures Networks India - Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. The tournament has made the Hindi GECs and many other genres lose considerable viewers across all its previous editions and season nine is no different.
As per the BARC India data (All India 4+ all five channels), the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Pune Super Giants remains the most watched match with 24448 Impressions (000s), of which 14809 (000s) have come from the urban households. The viewership of the tournament had been the highest in the first week.
|TOP FIVE MATCHES - IPL 9||Viewership (Impressions in '000s)|
|04-09-2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 1 - Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants||24448||14809||9639|
|04-12-2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 4 - Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad||24332||15161||9171|
|13/04/2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 5 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians||24049||14652||9397|
|20/04/2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 14 - Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore||21722||12877||8845|
|28/04/2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 24 - Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders||21375||13193||8183|
|BOTTOM THREE MATCHES - IPL 9||Viewership (Impressions in '000s)|
|05-01-2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 28 - Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab||9292||6151||3141|
|30/04/2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 26 - Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders||8950||5456||3494|
|16/04/2016||VIVO IPL 2016 Live - Match 8 - Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders||7234||4495||2739|
(TG: All India 4+; Channels: Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD)
The contribution of the rural markets to the overall television viewership is generally close to 50 per cent, which for IPL has still remained at 33 per cent as per the first five weeksâ data. Are the rural audience yet to get introduced to the IPL as they have always been busy supporting team India? Or is it because the free-to-air channel from the network, Sony Pal (available on DD Direct and has a wider reach) doesnât have IPL?
Well, the network said that they never even tried to think about Sony Pal as a prospective host for the tournament. Rajesh Kaul, President, Distribution, Sony Pictures Networks India said, âWe never considered Sony Pal. It is a premium property and we will never think about putting such a property on an FTA. IPL is also a big distribution driver for us. For IPL, we have got an amazing unparalleled reach and we donât have to put it on to an FTA to garner these numbers. Meanwhile, Pal has been put on DD Direct, which has expanded its scope, but it is a pay channel. We have got strong viewership from rural and we have done whatever marketing we had to do, prior to the launch of the tournament.â
It is true that the reach of the tournament has increased and the numbers are a testimony to that, though the comparisons on the previous years canât be drawn, the broad sense has always supported the bettered viewership for the cricketing event.
So, why is rural not watching it enough considering that cricket is popular across lengths and breadths of the country despite the urban rural divide. Well, media planners and experts give it to the format of the event.
Divya Radhakrishnan, Managing Director, Helios Media, said that rural audiences watch cricket differently more than the urban ones. âThe rural viewers have not really been introduced to the concept of IPL. They watch cricket and support Indian cricket team, thatâs all! They have not been exposed to the format where Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle play for each other or MS Dhoni and Steve Smith playing together. They know how to cheer India and have not really probably watched international cricket much.â
In the similar tone, Shripad Kulkarni, Managing Director, Vizeum stated how IPL is more a city-centric format. âIPL is pretty much a city centric proposition. Even the teams are owned by major markets. They have always tried to create affinity with urban and city audiences. One can say that the entertainment and brand composite within the tourney is more than that of cricket which brings it closer to urban viewers, than rural ones.â
However, both Radhakrishnan and Kulkarni have sensed a possibility of better numbers from rural markets given that Sony Pal had hosted the tourney.
While it remains to be seen how the tournament behaves as it progresses, the fact that rural is watching IPL might be a good news irrespective of the contribution to the total viewership.