This is the first time that IPL is being aired on Star India’s channels after the broadcaster won the global media rights of the league for a jaw-dropping Rs 16,347.5 crore.
In a bid to penetrate deeper into the country, Star India came up with an exhaustive coverage plan, encompassing 10 channels, six language feeds, and live streaming on Hotstar. However, as per viewership data sourced from subscribers of BARC India, in the all-India market (urban plus rural) for the audience of over two years, the total reach of the first eight matches of IPL (live telecast) this year has been at 245.7 million. It was 254.8 million the previous year.
Similarly, for the Hindi speaking markets (HSM), the reach this year has dropped by almost 19.5% to 143.5 million, compared with 178.3 million last year. “IPL 2018 live TV reach all India 2+ [over the age of two years] declined by approximately 10 million viewers, and the decline in reach across HSM markets stands at 20% that translates to a loss of approximately 35 million viewers. This is disappointing,” said Rajesh Kaul, president, sports and distribution at SPN India.
To its credit, Star India has seen significant increase in the South Indian markets, which can be attributed to the regional feed as well as return of Chennai Super Kings after a gap of two years. “If you take data for IPL on Star channels versus IPL on Sony channels, there is a clear decline in HSM. But that is also because Sony used to air IPL on Set Max, which being a Hindi movie channel, was mass distributed. Star Sports, on the other hand, has much lesser reach,” said a media planner, who did not wish to be identified.
While it’s just one week’s data, it will surely be a cause for concern because Star had assured advertisers of a much higher reach by delivering on languages and a never-before multiple regional markets push. “It’s a bit early to say definitively, but it will put pressure on digital rates,” he added.
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