The IPL’s average first-week viewership has marginally dropped compared to the corresponding figures from 2012, according to Tam Media Research, the leading television ratings agency in India. The television viewer ratings* (TVR) for the first week slipped from 3.9 in 2012 to 3.8 this year, however there were only five games in the first week (till Saturday) as opposed to six in 2012.
The tournament’s broadcaster, Multi Screen Media, put the drop down to the ongoing digitisation of cable television across dozens of Indian cities. “With digitisation, there is a chaos, uncertainty. We have opened right in the middle of all of that,” Neeraj Vyas, executive vice-president and business head of Max (the entertainment channel that telecasts the matches), told Economic Times. “The LC1 markets (towns with population exceeding one million) hold 25% of the weightage. If you discount the LC1 markets, there has actually been a growth and the ratings show a 4.5, which is higher than last year.”
The TVR figures also include the viewership on the broadcasters’ sports channel, Six, which is showing the IPL for the first time, alongside Max, which has telecast the league every season. The ratings have also fallen for the IPL opening ceremony, down to 1.2 from 1.8 in 2012.
While the league’s television ratings have dipped consistently, the numbers are relatively still healthy; typically, if a television programme on a general entertainment channel posts an average TVR of 4.00, it is considered to be a success.