The opening ceremony of the country’s most hyped sporting extravaganza, Indian Premier League’s third (IPL-3) season, had all the elements of a high-octane fare, except for the fans of Deccan Chargers (DC). The tournament, which opened at the D Y Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai on Friday, saw its first match being played between defending champions DC and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Despite wickets falling in quick succession, the match, as was expected, managed to get a full house in the stadium and out of it, with TV audiences glued to their sets. According to real-time data from TV viewership monitoring agency aMap, the number of viewers watching SET Max, the official broadcaster for IPL, jumped 200 per cent after the match started. The aMap data shows that SET Max which had a viewership market share of around 5 per cent in the afternoon on Friday, lagging general entertainment channels like STAR Plus and Colors, zoomed to gain a market share of 20 per cent when the match started at 8 pm. The data represents viewership of direct-to-home (DTH) subscribers, who constitute around 15 per cent of the paid TV users.
On the other hand, theatres that showed the match live almost had the occupancy rates for a superhit movie. “The stadium, which has a capacity of 45,000, was housefull so the IPL allowed us to show the match in Mumbai as well,” said an executive of UFO Moviez, that has the rights to telecast the matches in multiplexes and single-screen theatres through satellite.
IPL had issued a guideline that matches should not be shown in theatres of cities where a match is being held but Friday was an exception, considering viewers’ interest, the executive said. In Delhi and Mumbai, the match was shown in 55 theatres each and had almost 60 per cent occupancy rates. In Kolkata, the home team for KKR, two out of the 12 theatres were housefull.
The number of subscribers watching the game on YouTube, the online video broadcaster for IPL, went up by 200 per cent on Friday to 30,457 from around 10,000 a day before. The website registered a 50 per cent jump in the number of hits from 0.47 million on Friday afternoon to 0.88 million at the time when the match started. However, it was not all hunky dory, with users complaining on the telecast quality and the frequent loss of feed.