Though the first match of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was watched by more people than the first match of IPL 6, the average ratings of the first week of the tournament have witnessed a dip compared to last year. The average rating in the first week this year is 3.1 GRPs (gross rating points) at an all-India level, and 3.3 in the Hindi speaking markets (HSM). The average week one ratings last year was 3.8 GRPs all-India and 4 GRPs in Hindi speaking markets.
The IPL ratings have been dipping consistently year-on-year. While 2012 had witnessed at 19 per cent dip in viewership, there was a 14 per cent dip last year. The obvious reason for the dip in viewership this year seems to be the controversies surrounding the tournament. While a section of experts feel that a level of fatigue has set in, it certainly doesn't seem to be the case on the various digital platforms.
Starsports.com, which has the digital rights of IPL has till date got around 12 million visits. Ajit Mohan, EVP and Head, New Media, claims that the traffic has gone up by 40 per cent this year. "The number of conversations of IPL on various social media platforms has also gone up significantly," claims Mohan.
In fact, the Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match of April 24, topped the Twitter charts as the most talked about match so far. Kevin Pietersen's selfie of all the IPL team captains on April 16, got as many as 2,225 retweets on Twitter. The Twitter handle of Chennai Super Kings @ChennaiIPL has 625,000 followers. Similarly @mipaltan, the Twitter handle of Mumbai Indians has 499,000 followers.
The interest for IPL, therefore, hasn't dipped. But fans are definitely switching allegiance when it comes to the platform on which they are consuming the content. Experts feel that in the months to come the shift will be further in favour of digital platforms. "While viewing with family and samosas is still happening, most consumers today don't have the patience to watch an entire watch. They would rather watch the best sixes in a particular match, which the digital media customises for them. A digital portal will offer you only the best sixes or best catches of a particular match," explains Anil Nair, CEO, Digital, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi.
The need of the hour for sports broadcasters today is to adopt digital in a big way. "Broadcasters have to ensure that they offer content on multiple screens, more importantly, the content has to be customised for each of the screens," says Nair of L&K Saatchi.