Television viewership of the ongoing Indian Premier League has been the same as last year so far, but the number of people watching IPL matches on their smartphones, tablets and computer screens has shot up by almost 30%.
Estimates from industry and media buying firms reflect a significant jump in digital viewership of IPL.
"Content consumption is turning platform agnostic. People are watching the IPL across multiple screens... access is the key now, not the media platform," Basabdatta Chowdhury, CEO at Platinum Media, a Madison group company, said.
Online (web and mobile) viewership of IPL matches, being shown on starsports.com and Times Internet's gocricket.com, has reached a base of over 10 million for first 15 matches, data by GroupM-owned media buying firm Mindshare said. Mindshare estimates that the online viewership base will go up by about 25% than the IPL 6.
Average TRPs for the first 15 matches of IPL 7 being shown on Multi Screen Media-owned Sony Max and Sony Six was 4.76 against 4.8 last year, a media buying firm official said, quoting data by media monitoring firm TAM.
Deepika Warrier, VP marketing at PepsiCo, which is the title sponsor for IPL, said the firm did anticipate record digital viewership of the tournament this year. "While the television base is huge, there is concurrent viewership happening on TV and digital platforms," she said.
PepsiCo is spending 20%-30% higher budgets on digital media this IPL season, compared to last year. Warrier said the snacks and beverages major is using a tool set up by Mindshare called the 'Loop Room', which helps to shift media spends quickly to leverage opportunities by harnessing live data feeds.
Times Internet had acquired Internet and mobile broadcast rights for IPL three years ago, and has partnered with Star India early this year to share IPL digital broadcast rights on starsports.com. The IPL is also being streamed on Times Internet's gocricket.com.
"Over the past 3 years we have seen a 270% growth in online viewership of IPL. With the launch of gocricket.com - our new cricket destination - on web and mobile; we have seen enhanced interest and growth on viewership as per the initial trends. The audience affiliation towards watching IPL online has seen a steady growth and with the other interactive elements that the platform brings the interest has grown even further," said Puneet Singhvi, Business Head- IPL, Times Internet.
Ajit Mohan, executive VP and head of new media at Star India, said it has made it easy for people to watch matches on their smartphones, tablets or computer screens. "There's interest and momentum in this space... it's bound to escalate," he said. Star has partnered with consumer goods major HUL as presenting sponsor, while Amazon.in, Toyota, ITC, Reckitt Benckiser and Bridgestone are associate sponsors for the IPL on starsports.com.
In absolute terms, the number of online viewers is just a fraction of television viewers. According to Mindshare data, cumulative reach of the tournament for the first 10 days at 140 million was marginally higher than 137 million in the first 10 days of IPL 6. Admitting that IPL's ratings have remained the same as last year, Rohit Gupta, president (network sales) at Multi Screen Media, said that while IPL's TRP has remained the same as last year, the reach of IPL has increased by 4%.
Source: Econimic Times