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Sony Six’s Prasana Krishnan spells out why IPL 8 is seeing a surge in ratings

MUMBAI:  Prasana Krishnan, Multi Screen Media (MSM) EVP and Sony Six and Sony Kix business head, is a happy man as he spells out the reasons for the surge in ratings for IPL 8.

Just arriving after the cricket World Cup, the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has delivered strong ratings. This reinforces the fact that the T20 format is more popular than the 50-over ODIs and the Test matches.

Prasana-Krishnan02Lack of primetime matches during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and of a clear window due to the absence of elections has worked well for IPL this year, Krishnan says.

Unlike 2011, when the two events had clashed, there was no viewer fatigue this time as the World Cup 2015 matches were aired early morning in India, adds Krishnan.

Krishnan also believes that the IPL was much more organised this year compared to the last year when a high-profile general election compelled it to play the first half of the tournament in the UAE.

“It was a lot more organised this year because last year they (BCCI) announced the dates very late and part of it was played in the UAE. It was a clear year this time as it allowed us to plan and unleash the power of marketing and other initiatives. That has been a positive factor,” he says.

The ratings for the first five matches of the IPL season has grown a whopping 42 per cent to fetch 4.5 TVR, compared to 3.1 TVR in the previous edition of the tournament, as per data released for CS 4+ all India.

The five matches of IPL 8 were sampled by 105 million unique viewers, which is a 9 per cent increase over IPL 7. Time spent by viewers per match was 51 minutes and 44 seconds, which is a 22 per cent increase over the previous edition. Overall, 39 per cent of the all-India universe tuned to watch IPL 8 matches.

“Despite the cricket World Cup, viewer fatigue is not there this time. While there were concerns whether 50 days of the World Cup would lead to fatigue, that did not happen,” Krishnan adds.

Since the World Cup matches were in the morning, primetime viewership could come in a big way for the IPL, which has the majority of matches in the prime time.

The broadcaster also launched a new sports channel called Sony Kix to offer audio feed in Tamil and Telugu. There is a Bangla feed on Sony Aath, besides Hindi and English feeds on Sony Max and Sony Six respectively.

Apart from the five-language strategy, another key innovation was the ‘IPL Fan Park’ initiative that allowed viewers to watch an IPL match with friends and family in a public location.

According to Krishnan, the ‘India Ka tyohaar’ campaign also helped in creating buzz around the event.

“The IPL marketing campaign this year has been a phenomenal success. The whole campaign has connected with the viewers since it captures the emotion of the people,” he notes.

Buoyed by the e-commerce segment, the broadcaster had this year sold 95 per cent of the inventory even before the start of the event.