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Pro Kabaddi League most popular non-cricket property with 61% viewership share: BARC

MUMBAI: The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is the most popular non-cricket property in India with a viewership share of 61% followed by the Indian Super League (ISL) at 16% share, according to a BARC India study titled ‘Rise of Indian Sports Leagues’.

Rise of indian sports leagues What are the popular sports properties

However, BARC noted that this is in part because the PKL has had two seasons in 2016, Season 3 in January–February 2016, and Season 4 in June–July 2016. All other properties have had only one season.

The study further stated that 80% of the viewership for non-cricket live sports came from just six properties PKL, ISL, Rio Olympics 2016, Kabaddi World Cup 2016, Premier Badminton League and Hockey India League.

Rise of indian sports leagues Tournament Avg. Normalised Impressions'000

Overall, non-cricket properties contribute to 20% of live match viewership.

The findings of the study are based on BARC India data for the 52-week period in 2016 for all India and the entire TV universe. The audience measurement body has considered only live matches for analysis.

Rise of indian sports leagues Impressions vs. Reach

The study further notes that the ISL, with one of the best impressions to reach ratio, has extremely high stickiness among its viewers. Broadcasters could target advertisers looking for high engagement space.

Since the PKL, Kabaddi World Cup 2016 and ISL have a higher contribution share from female viewers and lower NCCS viewers, broadcasters could safely have more popular FMCG brands in these properties, BARC said in its findings.

Close to 80% of the PKL viewership comes from the telecast on movie channels, and this share is increasing. Ad sectors targeting females and youth can look at the PKL given its relatively higher viewership base.

Rise of indian sports leagues Gender

Rise of indian sports leagues Age Group

Rise of indian sports leagues NCCS

Home matches see a higher viewership than the away matches in the team’s home market. This, according to the study, might help regional advertisers.

Kabaddi rules the roost

According to the study, PKL continues to lead even if one looks at the average viewership for each property.

In addition to that, kabaddi turns out to be the most popular sport with Kabaddi World Cup 2016 overtaking the ISL for the second highest viewership spot.

Conversely, Rio Olympics 2016 sees a drop in position when it comes to average viewership. The Hockey India League has the lowest viewership within all these properties.

The dominance of kabaddi extends to the reach of the properties as well. Kabaddi as a sport has the highest Impressions as well as reach, with PKL leading followed by Kabaddi World Cup 2016.

Interestingly, ISL has the lowest Reach among all properties despite having second highest impressions. This implies that the has extremely high stickiness amongst its viewers despite a lower viewer base.

Conversely, Premier Badminton League and Hockey India League have the lowest Impressions to reach ratio. This may, partly, be due to the longer duration of matches as compared to kabaddi or football.

However, there is potential for them to increase the stickiness among their viewers, the study stated.

Female a key demography for non-sports properties

The three most popular properties, PKL, Kabaddi World Cup 2016 and ISL, all had a higher viewership of female viewers as compared to the other properties.

They also have a higher contribution from the lower NCCS i.e. NCCS C and NCCS D/E. Conversely, Rio Olympics 2016, Premier Badminton League and Hockey India League had a high contribution from NCCS A.

Kabaddi also has the highest contribution from the younger age groups—4–14 years and 15–30 years, among all properties. Surprisingly, football has the highest contribution by 51+ years age group among all properties.

Kabaddi as a sport is followed the most in AP/Telangana, followed by Maharashtra/Goa and Karnataka. However, within that, the share of Maharashtra/Goa in PKL is much higher than for Kabaddi World Cup 2016.

The study noted that this may reflect the fact that U Mumbai team was the first runner up in PKL Season 3.

Rise of indian sports leagues Let us take a look at which markets contribute to the viewership

In keeping with the conventional wisdom, the ISL has maximum viewership in the football-crazy markets of Kerala, West Bengal and Assam/North East/Sikkim. Interestingly, this is the only property which does not have a high viewership in Maharashtra/Goa.

Apart from ISL, Premier Badminton League also got its maximum viewership in Assam/North East/Sikkim market.

Rio Olympics 2016 had the maximum viewership spread across multiple markets. This may be because it is multi-sport event with no regional teams.

As in the case of PKL, Hockey India League has the highest viewership in Pun/Har/Cha/HP/J&K market, which had the winning team of Punjab Warriors.

In addition to a general interest in the sport, a well-performing home team leads to higher viewership in the market.

PKL – Up and close

Star India’s decision to broadcast the PKL on movie channels Star Gold, Maa Movies and Star Suvarna Plus besides Star Sports has paid off for the network as close to 80% of the viewership, for both seasons, comes from the telecast on movie channels. Star Gold has the largest share of the pie with a 41% contribution to the viewership.

Rise of indian sports leagues Analysing the viewership pie

Further, the contribution of Movie channels to the total viewership has gone up from Season 3 to Season 4—from 78% to 83%.

The ad sector presence on PKL is widely distributed with seven categories, of the total 13 categories present, having a comparable share.

According to the study, female specific sectors are not present on PKL despite high contribution of female viewers (44%).

Rise of indian sports leagues Ad sector preferences

Female targeted sectors (personal care/personal hygiene, household products, personal healthcare) contribute only 15% to the total duration. As opposed to that Male categories (durables, banking/finance/investment, auto, fuel/petroleum products, alcoholic drinks) constitute 35% of the total duration.

While PKL has a higher share from youth as compared to ISL, the entire Education sector is not active on PKL. Additionally, the service sector, which includes several e-commerce websites, has a much lower presence on PKL.

Rise of indian sports leagues Team loyalty in home markets

Except for some markets, the home matches have seen a higher viewership as compared to the away matches. The maximum growth is seen for Bengaluru Bulls, where viewership of home matches is higher by 17% in Karnataka and 45% in Bangalore.

The only teams that do not see a growth during home matches are Jaipur Pink Panthers, Patna Pirates & U Mumba.

In the case of U Mumbai, there is a minimal growth in the home city of Mumbai. However, the home state (Mah/Goa) does not see any growth. This may be due to divided loyalties among the viewers, as this state has two teams competing in the league. The other team, Puneri Paltan, sees a growth in viewership during home matches.

Additionally, all the three teams—U Mumba, Jaipur Pink Panthers and Patna Pirates, were all finalists. The home matches have not seen any growth as the semi-finals and finals , which have the maximum viewership, were all away matches.

However, it must be noted that the interest in each match will also vary depending on several other factors—how closely contested it is, individual player performances, likely impact on team qualification chances, etc.

The actual intensity / importance of matches basis these has not been factored currently, BARC said.