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The Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) is off to a strong start in its 11th year, on a new network. The inaugural match of the 11th season, played between the Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) registered viewership on television of 6.35 million impressions (All India Urban markets, males above 15 years of age in NCCS AB) which translates to a 7.21 rating (weighted percentage) on the Star Network.
This is a growth of 37 per cent over last year’s opening game. The 2017 opening match was at 5.26 rating percentage (for the same target group). These are simulcast ratings of the original telecast aired on Saturday April 7 at 8 pm across a bouquet of 10 channels (Star Sports 1; Star Sports 1 HD; Star Sports Select 1 SD; Star Sports Select 1 HD (English); Star Sports 1 (Hindi); Star Sports 1 HD (Hindi); Star Sports 1 Tamil (Tamil) along with Suvarna Plus (Kannada); Jalsha Movies (Bengali) and Maa Movies (Telegu).
On Hotstar, the platform posted a 42 million reach on opening day which was 2.3 times higher than that of last year. This record has since then been surpassed on Tuesday, April 10, by the CSK vs KKR game setting a new global record in sports viewership on digital with 5.5 million simultaneous viewers. If Hotstar were a television channel, the rating on the opening game would have an approximate average television percentage rating of 3.1, taking the total rating of the opening match to 10.3.
Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India says, “I think this is the biggest year for the IPL (in terms of viewership) and it comes in the 11th year of the tournament. While this is preliminary data, it would suffice to say that even the biggest of properties have scope to grow bigger. It proves the power of the Star Network, language (feeds) and regionalisation. It also reiterates that cricket is still powerful as even.”
Rahul Johri, chief executive officer, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said, “The VIVO Indian Premier League has once again proven that it is the largest media property in this country. This is IPL's first year of partnership with Star India and I am delighted to see with the innovations that we have introduced, viewership has set new records and the tournament is set to reach a wider audience globally than ever before. It’s setting up to be a great tournament with some fantastic cricketing action for the fans who can enjoy the games in 6 languages, live across TV and Digital for the first time. As always, we are seeing a tremendous response across both stadiums and fan parks and the atmosphere across the country has been very encouraging.”
Star India acquired the rights to the IPL last year for Rs 163.5 billion (for five years). This is the first time in the history of the tournament that the TV and digital rights reside under one roof, and the network has been working on making the most of it. While the TV feed provides options for language, the Hotstar feed has used technology to enhance the viewing experience. “While digital (consumption) tends to have an urban skew, the takeaway is that if you make it convenient to access content and enhance the experience, there is scope to expand viewership on digital too,” Gupta adds.
The viewership data has been provided to the broadcaster by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) through its newly launched service PreView. Using technology, the TV ratings agency is trying to provide viewership data as quickly as possible. For marquee properties, broadcasters can avail the service and get select data for the said event after three days of telecast as opposed to 7-14 days wait time.
“BARC India’s goal has always been to deliver insights that help drive value for our clients. Our latest offering - PreView - is another product that will aid growth of industry. The fact that we are able to deliver viewership data 3 days after telecast is a testament to robustness and health of our panel and cutting edge technology. This is in line with international standards,” said Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India.
(1. impressions refers to the number of people watching the match at any given point in its telecast
2. the rating is what was called TVR previously. It is a weighted percentage of viewership and is a number without any unit.)