the first data of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament came out, senior media observers credited its roaring success on television to many factors - be its novelty, the media hype, star appearances or marketing.
As per TAM Media Research, the first three matches of IPL got an all India average TVR of 5.57 (C&S 4+, All India). There are more to the impressive performance by IPL. The first match between the Bangalore's Royal Challengers and Kolkata's Knight Riders on opening day, April 18, grabbed the highest TVR of 10.46 in Kolkata and 10.01 in Bangalore.
A section of the media attribute this success to the star power of Shah Rukh Khan, while ones like Basabdutta Chowdhury, chief executive officer, Madison Media Plus, believe that Kolkata being a sports fanatic city provide high ratings for other international cricket matches even.
The audiences have also rooted for their city teams. As per TAM data for the opening match, the minute on minute TVR in Kolkata started at around 7, peaked to 15 towards the close of the match and finished at around 11. In Bangalore, the minute on minute TVR opened at 11, reached a peak of 15 in about 15 minutes and gradually wound down to 7, as the city sensed that its team was losing. The match was won by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
So, what went wrong with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) floated by media tycoon Subhash Chandra's Essel Group? The planners say that while the ICL got poor grounds to play in and next to no media hype, the IPL has more of an official status and many current international players playing for its teams.
And yes, cricket is a man's game. The TAM data shows that clearly. In fact, the craze for cricket amongst men has only increased over time. Women's contribution to the total viewership of the Cricket World Cup 2003 was 41 per cent; it gradually came down to 38 per cent during the World Cup of 2007, and to 37 per cent in the Twenty20 World Cup last year. Women form only 36 per cent of the total IPL viewership, taking the men's percentage to 64 per cent from 59 per cent in the World Cup of 2003.
Overall, it's the 35+ audience that's brought in the numbers (38 per cent), but that is a large group. What is more interesting to advertisers is the group of viewers in the 15-24 years' age group - the numbers in this group has gone up during the current tournament, from 21 per cent for the Cricket World Cup 2003 to 27 per cent for the IPL.