The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the single biggest property on television in terms of viewership, advertising monies and even perception. The 2018 edition of IPL saw participation from 247 brands compared to 135 that participated in 2017 and 138 in 2016. There is a significant growth in the number of advertisers too. 123 advertisers invested in 2018, which is almost 50% more than that in 2016.
BARC’s latest ThiNK newsletter that has analysed the tournament over the years reported, “This growth might partly be credited to the doubling of broadcasting channels, there is little doubt that IPL remains a favourite destination for brands.”
Taking a closer look at the pattern of advertisers’ presence, a 42% of them were present across all 10+ channels that were telecasting IPL.
The recent study titled ‘IPL-Over The Years’ released by BARC India listed the top 10 categories of advertisers on IPL. Interestingly, the top three categories remained the same between 2016 and 2018, albeit with a little change in the order – smartphones, cellular phone services and internet/ online shopping.
The primary driving factor is that IPL’s sponsor brands fall under these categories. In 2018, a higher number of F&B categories were present in the top 10 advertised categories and fewer durables. In 2016 and 2017, categories related to automobiles/tyres, air conditioners and DTH service providers featured in the top 10 (also by share of impressions). But in 2018, not only these categories moved down in the ranks marginally but their place was also claimed by the fast-moving F&B categories like biscuits, pan masala, and aerated soft drinks, which found their way into top 10 while improving their relative ranking.
|Top advertising categories in IPL 2016, 2017 and 2018|
|Category||Share of Duration||Category||Share of Duration||Category||Share of Duration|
|Cellular Phones - Smart Phones||18%||Cellular Phones - Smart Phones||22%||Cellular Phones - Smart Phones||13%|
|IS-B2C and Online Shopping||14%||Cellular Phone Service||12%||Cellular Phone Service||11%|
|Cellular Phone Service||7%||IS-B2C and Online Shopping||6%||IS-B2C and Online Shopping||6%|
|Auto - Cars and Jeeps||7%||Air Conditioners||5%||Soft Drinks Aerated||5%|
|Auto - Tyres||6%||Auto - Cars and Jeeps||5%||Biscuits||4%|
|Spirits and Other Beverages||4%||Auto - Tyres||4%||Pan Masala/ Zarda/ Gutkha||4%|
|Soft Drink Aerated||4%||Auto - Two Wheelers||4%||Soft Drinks Non Aerated||4%|
|Air Conditioners||4%||Soft Drinks Non Aerated||3%||Air Conditioners||3%|
|Pan Masala/ Zarda/ Gutkha||4%||Biscuits||3%||Paints||300%|
|DTH Service Providers||3%||Wires and Cables||3%||Auto - Tyres||3%|
The Impressions garnered by IPL 2018 were 41% more than those clocked in 2016. Compared to 2017 edition, there was a 16% jump in these numbers. Even the average time spent increased from an average of 28 minutes in 2016 to 34 minutes in 2018. This growth re-establishes that IPL remains a dynamic and much sought-after property on TV.
There hasn’t been any significant change in the contribution to viewership from the male and female audiences, respectively. However, the viewership share of NCCS CDE has dropped over the last three years, while viewership share of NCCS B has shown a growth.
The report also stated, “In terms of age-groups, viewership of each age group has registered significant growth: Kids (<15 yrs) have registered 52% growth, that of 15-21 yrs has grown 50%, while 22-30 yrs have shown a 20% growth. Within age groups, however, we observe changing patterns of relative contribution to the growing IPL viewership.”
Another important aspect studied in the report is how IPL affects the contribution of sports in the overall TV viewership while taking a large share of viewership from among the total sports viewership on TV. While the 2016 edition contributed to 22% of total sports viewership, that figure almost doubled to 43% in 2018. There might be other factors influencing these figures, which includes tournament dates, telecast of other major sporting events during the same period, among others.
The share of sports viewership in the total TV viewership jumped two percentage points in 2016 when IPL was on, and that has only been scaled up over the years.
It must be noted that while IPL 2016 (April 9-May 29) was telecast on Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD, Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, the 2017 edition (April 5-May 21) was also shown on the same channels. However, IPL 2018 (Apr 7-May 27) was scaled up by Star India by telecasting it on Asianet Movies, Star Suvarna Plus, Jalsha Movies, Star Gold HD, Star Maa Movies, Star Plus SD+HD, Star Gold, Star Pravah, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports Select 1 SD + HD, DD Sport, Star Sports 2 SD + HD.
This had a huge impact on the viewership of different genres on television, during IPL. The share of GEC genre declined marginally in all three years, as viewers tune in to IPL matches during prime-time when general entertainment content otherwise rules the roost. Across 2016 and 2017, the growth in viewership of the movies genre is attributable to the telecast of matches on Set Max. However, in 2018, with the IPL telecast moving primarily to sports channels, we see a clear drop in viewership of the movies genre, and a marked increase in that of the sports genre.
There is a significant increasing trend in the consumption of HD too for the tournament duration. IPL has exhibited a growing contribution of HD viewership. BARC, in its earlier study ‘Understanding the HD Viewership Landscape’, had clearly proved that the sports genre performs relatively better on HD than SD – both in terms of share of Impressions as well as engagement. Also, HD has emerged as the preferred mode of viewing for cricket. IPL has followed the same results. This is also driven by availability of IPL on more HD channels, higher uptake of HD subscriptions, as well as rising penetration of HD TV sets. One corollary indicator is rise in viewership share of NCCS A audience in 2018: possibly, growth of HD viewership is being driven by affluent audiences seeking a better viewing experience.
Share of HD viewership on IPL increased from 1% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, to 3% in 2018.
Amongst the teams, Chennai Super Kings came out as the clear leader in terms of the growth in viewership for the home-city/state matches, versus the other teams. This shows a strong affinity of audiences for Dhoni and team. It might also largely be because the team returned to IPL after two years, creating enough anticipation.
Regional was a clear growth story in IPL 2018, as Star India put a lot of focus on the languages. The report corroborates that while Hindi continues to dominate, there is a substantial viewership of telecast in regional languages as well. IPL 2018 generated almost equal viewership for English as well as regional language (other than Hindi). As TV penetrates further into semi-urban and rural areas, and TV ownership grows at a faster pace in these town-classes, uptake of IPL (and possibly other sports properties) in regional languages is likely to show a continued upward trend. This opportunity will not be missed by brands looking to target emerging markets as well as those focusing on local markets. Broadcasts in more regional languages will further aid this process.
BARC India had announced its OOH measurement service right after the end of IPL 2018 along with releasing the viewership numbers of the tournament on the OOH screens. Sports emerged as the most preferred genre (accounting for 70% of the total OOH viewership) during IPL 2018. Of the 44 million walk-ins during April-May, a record 33 million watched IPL in the OOH space. IPL 2018 garnered 23.7 million Impressions from OOH viewing of live matches across three cities, leading to an incremental viewership of 8% over viewership from TV currency panel. (TG: 15+, Delhi/ Mumbai/ Bangalore)