Television viewership of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has dipped for the second week in a row. According to the average Broadcast Audience Research Council of India’s TV ratings, viewership of matches in the second week is down by 12-17 per cent compared to the first week of the tournament across different age groups. The viewership in the first week was already down compared to last year’s data. The overall reach of the first week dropped 14 per cent to 229.06 million from 267.7 million last year. In 2019, the overall reach was at 268 million in the first week.
This comes even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) floated a fresh tender to sell broadcasting rights with a minimum reserve price of around ₹32,000 crore.
According to experts, there could be multiple reasons for the dip in TV viewership this year. Anuj Kapoor, Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Ahmedabad said it’s the timing of the series that matters the most. “If the 15-21 or 22-30 age group is occupied with exams - they are less likely to watch IPL. But if the next IPL season is conducted after the exams, there is expected to be no clash and we might see an uptick in the ratings. Therefore, I don’t see any impact on brand valuation for the next season. Only if the pattern continues for consecutive years, we might see a correction in the IPL valuations.”
Kapoor said that unlike last year when consumers were sitting at home due to the pandemic, physical travel has resumed after a long and that can also be a short-term factor driving the dip in ratings as people prefer to travel outside, rather than sit in front of their TVs to watch matches,
Brand expert Harish Bijoor said that a dip in TV viewership is not going to have an impact on the valuation of IPL in the upcoming media rights auctions. “Since prospective bidders have already made up their minds regarding what is the value of this media property, they have also made up their minds regarding what they will be willing to pay for the same. Furthermore, most of the dip in TV viewership is due to the transition to OTT/Digital viewership. Digital players are less likely to share those numbers, and we will see disclosure of digital viewership closer to the auction when the data is more valuable,” said Bijoor.