The ninth season of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) garnered a considerable size of television viewership in its opening week, making its official broadcaster, Sony Max, the second most-watched television channel, behind only Sun TV, during the week ended 15 April.
According to data released on Thursday by television viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, Sony Max recorded 946 million impressions between 9 April and 15 April, 25% more than the viewership numbers of Hindi entertainment channel Star Plus.
During the week, Star Plus recorded 757.9 million impressions followed by Colors with 708.7 million impressions. In all the seven matches held between 9 April and 15 April, the Indian Premier League garnered 145.7 million impressions.
Impressions, also known as television viewership in thousands (TVT), refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.
The IPL match played between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad on 12 April became the most-watched match with 24.1 million impressions during prime time.
The average prime-time impressions for the seven matches played during the week stood at 20.82 million. In comparison, the daily soap Naagin on Colors, which was the most-viewed TV show across all the Hindi entertainment channels, got 16.48 million impressions.
“The numbers are very encouraging. The reach of IPL has grown substantially to over 218 million individuals this season. IPL grows week-on-week. It is a very good start and has aligned with the trends of the past,” said Rohit Gupta, president of network sales at Sony Pictures Network, which runs a clutch of sports and entertainment channels.
The official broadcasters for IPL matches are Sony Max and Sony Six, according to IPL’s website.
“IPL has created a lot of hype, but these initial ratings should not be considered as a benchmark for the overall IPL ratings. Somewhere in the times to come, the ratings will stabilize. Initially, the sponsors were a little cautious because of all the controversies associated (with the league) but with these kind of ratings, they are happy,” said Tarun Nigam, executive vice-president at advertising agency DDB Mudra.
Sony netted advertisement sales of Rs.800 crore during IPL 2015, according to a report on Indian sports sponsorship prepared by GroupM Media India Pvt. Ltd and Sportz Network Pvt. Ltd.
According to a Mint report published on 9 April 2016, brands have paid between Rs.10 crore and Rs.20 crore for title sponsorships of IPL teams in the past, as per the estimates by media planners.
Sports sponsorship in India grew 12.3% to Rs.5,185.4 crore in 2015 from Rs.4,616.5 crore in the previous year, as per the ESP Properties-SportzPower report released in Mumbai this month.