Call it viewer fatigue. People aren't rushing home to catch the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches on television. Midway through the fourth season, the IPL has recorded the lowest-ever television rating points (TRPs) since its inception four years ago.
According to TAM Sports, a television ratings agency, the first 26 matches of IPL 4 have garnered an average rating of 4.30 across six metros, a drop of 22% as compared to last year. The average TRP, which measures the popularity of particular television programme, last season was 5.51.
The low television viewership could pull down advertising rates and also hurt anticipated revenues of the broadcaster, SET Max. A 10-second ad spot on the channel during match hours in the early league stages was going for as much as R8.5 lakh - nearly double of what it was last year.
"Ratings are important, as they are used to calculate the cost of advertising slots. Low TRP means loss of efficiency, and advertisers can demand compensation from broadcasters," said Tarun Nigam, executive director, Starcom, media communications agency.
Low viewership may also pull down the ad rates for the qualifiers and the final later this month. "If the tournament did well, spot rates were expected to touch R11 lakh per 10 second slot during the league stages. Now, given the relatively poorer TRPs, broadcaster might ask for much reasonable rates for the qualifiers and final," said a media buyer.
"Three months of cricketing season has caused fatigue. The overdose will result in the lowest viewership this season as families have started watching soaps and programmes they followed earlier," said Santosh Desai, managing director, Futurebrands. Some experts, however, said IPL continues to remain a good platform for brand building.
"IPL has been a successful platform for brands. Even with limited spends on the event, brands have been able to generate visibility, ad recall and drive associations," said Mausumi Kar, General Manager, Maxus global media.