Disney Star on Saturday said the IPL 2023’s opening match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings witnessed a significant increase in TV viewership against that of the season opener in 2022. According to the company, the IPL’s TV viewership has returned to normalised pre-pandemic levels after witnessing a drop in 2022 due to viewer fatigue.

The official TV media rights holder of IPL said the opening match last week garnered a TVR of 7.29 (BARC data). Star Sports recorded a TVR of 5.6 for the opening fixture in 2022, the lowest in the last six editions. This was attributed to India returning to a more normal way of life after a nearly 21-month lockdown, leading to a decline in TV viewership. In comparison, the TVR for the opening fixture for 2020 was 10.36 and 8.25 in 2021.

“However, the recent season opener’s TVR of 7.29 indicates that IPL fatigue is now behind us, and TV viewership in 2023 has returned to a more normal level.This TVR is comparable to 8.0 in 2019 and 7.2 in 2018,” the broadcaster added . 

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The opening match also clocked a total of 8.7 billion minutes of consumption on TV, which is 47 per cent more than last year, it added. 

In a statement, Sanjog Gupta, Head–Sports, Disney Star, said: “The massive growth in viewing time is a testament to the success of our campaign, focus on building virtues of Star Sports’ broadcast, continuing dominance of linear television as the preferred platform for uninterrupted viewing of live cricket and most of all, the deep relationship we share with cricket fans.”

The broadcaster said that a similar sharp rise and falls due to the pandemic have been witnessed by other industries such as travel and hospitality and the e-commerce industry.

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“The average time spent per viewer watching IPL on TV in 2023 is the second-highest if one were to exclude the peak Covid-19 years of 2020 and 2021. Time spent per viewer in 2023 was 76 minutes compared to 78 minutes in 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the average time spent per viewer stood at 81 minutes and 79 minutes, respectively,” the broadcaster added. 

“With the recent increase in TV viewership and time spent per viewer, it remains to be seen whether the IPL can sustain this trend throughout the current season,” it added.”