A look at key IPL viewership trends in the last 3 years

MUMBAI: The high definition (HD) viewership of Indian Premier League (IPL) has gone up significantly underlying the growing preference for sports viewing on HD. According to a new study by BARC India titled ‘IPL- Over the Years’, the share of HD viewership has increased to 3% in 2018 from 1% in the previous two editions.

The HD viewership growth is driven by the availability of IPL on more HD channels, higher uptake of HD subscriptions, as well as rising penetration of HD TV sets.

The study also drew a correlation between the increase of viewership share of NCCS A audience for IPL 2018 and growth of HD viewership. It noted that the HD viewership is being driven by affluent audiences seeking a better viewing experience.

In its earlier newsletter titled “Understanding the HD Viewership Landscape”, the council had shown how sports genre performs relatively better on HD than SD – both in terms of share of Impressions as well as engagement. Also, HD has emerged as the preferred mode of viewing for Cricket.

This, it said, reflected in its analysis of IPL viewership data as well.

Another key takeaway of the study is the increase in female viewership share. While IPL viewership has a male skew, but the share of female viewership has marginally risen in 2018. The Male: Female skew now stands at 58:42 which is slightly better than 59:41 in 2017.

The young audiences (22-40 years) are a major contributor to IPL viewership contributing more than 30% to the overall viewership. The 2-21 age group is also a major contributor of viewership for IPL.

As is known, IPL drives up sports viewership and simultaneously impacts viewership of other genres like GEC. It also impacted Hindi movie genre in 2018 due to the fact that the IPL was not being telecast on Sony Max after Star India won the rights.

The 2016 edition of IPL contributed 22% of total sports viewership. That figure has almost doubled to 43% in 2018. Beyond Impressions, Average Time Spent watching IPL matches too exhibited an upward trend. From an average of 28 minutes in 2016, it increased to 34 minutes in 2018.

The share of sports viewership jumped 2% points in 2016 when IPL was on, and that scale up has only risen further over the years.

The study also highlighted that matches featuring CSK and MI remain the big draws on TV. Both these teams not only drive up viewership in their home cities/states but also at all India level.

At an all India level, games featuring Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) generated the highest viewership, while Rajasthan Royals (RR) garners the lowest.

Conversely, teams like Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils failed to attract viewership of their natural fan base. This can partly be due to relatively weaker performance of the teams and their star players.

IPL 2018 has witnessed huge uptake on regional language channels. Viewership share of the regional-language telecast (23%) is at par with that of English language telecast (22%). However, Hindi dominates the viewership share with 55% contribution.

As TV penetrates further into semi-urban and rural areas, and TV ownership grows at a faster pace in these town-classes, uptake of IPL (and possibly other sports properties) in regional languages is likely to show a continued upward trend, the study noted.

This opportunity, BARC said, will not be missed by brands looking to target emerging markets as well as those focusing on local markets. Broadcasts in more regional languages will further aid this process.

The number of advertisers on IPL has increased proportionately to the popularity of the tournament. Over the last 3 years, the total number of advertised brands has grown by 79% from 138 to 247.

The 247 brands that advertised on IPL 2018 were accounted for by 123 advertisers (count of which has grown 50% since 2016). A part of this growth may be on account of increase in the number of broadcasting channels.

In terms of the spread of advertisers across channels that broadcast IPL, a good 42% opted to be present across 10+ channels, while about 28% chose to advertise on a mix of 6-9 channels. The remaining advertisers were present on 5 or fewer channels.

Smartphones, Cellular Phone Services, and Internet/ Online Shopping are consistently the top 3 advertised categories on TV during IPL. This indicates that for marketers, IPL remains a platform to engage with young, affluent audiences.

Out of Home viewing contributes to a sizeable share of total IPL viewership. Measurement across 3 metros (Mumbai, Delhi & Bengaluru) accounted for 8% incremental audiences over TV home panel. IPL 2018 garnered 23.7 million Impressions from OOH viewing of live matches across 3 cities, leading to an incremental viewership of 8% over from TV currency panel.

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