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World Cup: TV viewership ‘dwindling’ as digital continues to create record

According to the BARC data for 2+ All India (U+R), the reach for the first 11 matches (LIVE) on Star Sports channels has dropped 6% to 258 million viewers (TV+OOH) in the ongoing tournament

After the concurrent viewership peaked at 3.5 crore during the India-Pakistan match on October 14, Disney+ Hotstar created yet another record with a peak of 4.3 crore people watching the India vs New Zealand match on Sunday.

At the same time, it appears prima facie that the free access to the World Cup matches on mobile phones has hurt television viewership as the overall cricket viewership is going up significantly.

According to the BARC data for 2+ All India (U+R), the reach for the first 11 matches (LIVE) on Star Sports channels has dropped 6% to 258 million viewers (TV+OOH) in the ongoing tournament. On TV only, the drop is 10% to 231 million viewers.

In the 2019 season, Star Sports channels recorded the reach of the first 11 live matches of 276 million and 258 million on TV+OOH and TV, respectively.

Compared with pre and post-live (LIVE+PPL including warm-up matches), the drop in reach stands at 7% for TV+OOH and 11% for TV only.

However, there is an increase in time spent on television as the first 11 live matches recorded a watch time of 55 mn minutes, up 12% from 49 bn minutes in the 2019 World Cup.

While India opener with Australia this year fetched a reach of 157 mn viewers among 2+ U+R audiences, the 2019 India opener against South Africa recorded 180 mn viewers.

The reach and viewership of the non-India matches also recorded a drop of 21% and 19%, respectively.

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