An India-Pakistan cricket match immediately brings to mind images of war, aggression, pumped up fists and litres of adrenalin.
Right? Well, it might have been so - a year back. Recent viewership statistics suggest that the once heart-stopping cricket fixtures have decidedly gone limp.
First, the statistics. As per TAM Media Research (C&S, 4+, six metros), when India visited Pakistan in March 2004, the final ODI got the highest TVR among the five matches. The tournament was simulcast on Ten Sports and DD1. Ten Sports got a TVR of 11.04, while DD1 managed an even higher TVR of 11.09.
In comparison, during the recent Indo-Pak cricket series, the second ODI got the highest TVR in the six-match series. It got a TVR of 6.0 on DD Sports, and 3.8 on DD1. The recent Indo-Pak series was simulcast on DD1 and DD Sports.
Clearly, something went amiss between the games played in Pakistan and the ones recently played in India.
Hiren Pandit, general manager, Mumbai, MindShare, says, "We anyway expected lower TVRs for the current Indo-Pak series vis-a-vis the Samsung Cup in 2004. Unfortunately, the performance has been far poorer than expected. We didn't expect this as traditionally Indo-Pak matches have always provided better TVRs than India playing against any other country."
Looking back at the past TVR records, CVL Srinivas, managing director, MAXUS India, feels that the viewership of the Samsung Cup of 2004 was exceptionally high as India was playing against Pakistan after a long time. He says, "There was much hype created around the matches. That led to the spurt in viewership."
Srinivas points out a few reasons for low viewership this time around. He says, "All matches of this series were played during the day, when the core TG of male viewers were at their workplace. This could have adversely affected the viewership. If you would recall, most of the matches were day-night fixtures."
"That apart, the Indian cricket team's form went from bad to worse in this series. This also must have led to a loss of interest among viewers," he adds.
Pandit adds, "During the 2004 Samsung Cup, the countries were trying to sort out their differences through cricket after a few tension-filled years. But now, as there is less tension between the two countries, the fighting spirit has somewhat ebbed too."
The other possible reason, which Srinivas of Maxus points out, is that there is an increase in interest level for other sports such as hockey and tennis, although these do not generate high TVRs. He says, "Formula 1 Racing is another sports which is getting popular among the upper SEC viewers."
Concurs a Delhi-based media planner. "India's performance has improved in other sports such as tennis and Formula 1 Racing. Star such as Sania Mirza or Narayan Karthikeyan are getting popular. This has given a choice of sporting icons for the Indian sports viewers other than those from cricket, " he said.
Another Mumbai-based media planner says, "It's too early to indicate a trend but certainly boredom is bound to crop up - be it cricket or soaps. This could also have been a reason behind the decline in viewership."
A Mumbai-based senior media planner says off-the-record: "Channel such as ESPN or Ten Sports know how to build properties out of sporting events and also promote these very aggressively. Doordarshan's coverage in itself is very poor. Forget about DD building events as properties. This may not be a major cause of decline in viewership but it certainly has its own effect." © 2005 agencyfaqs!