Cricket hit reality shows and soaps for a six as 67.3 million viewers watched India beat Pakistan in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
The viewership was about three times that of the most popular shows on TV and extremely high for a week day.
The match, which lasted a full eight hours, garnered a television viewership rating (TVR) of 20% at its peak — when it seemed India was sure to romp home — across cable and satellite TV homes in India.
At 11.74%, the overall match TVR was also at its highest, according to the overnight TV viewership measurement agency, aMap. Compare this with TVRs of around 6% for the most popular TV shows these days, which last 30 minutes on an average.
The TVR measures the share of a programme among sampled TV homes that are switched on and watching at a given time. A viewer on average spent 160 minutes on the World Cup.
The second highest TVR was for the India-Australia quarter-final at 6.53%, with the average time spent watching it being 115 minutes. The India-England game — a heartstopper of a match that ended in a tie — got a 6.44% TVR and an average 99 minutes of time spent per viewer.
And to those who believe Indian interest in cricket has waned, here’s proof to the contrary: the highest TVR in the 2007 edition of the Cup, for the India-Sri Lanka match, was just 5.43%.
With cricket playing on everyone’s minds and TV sets, viewership of sports channels rose 514% over the average of the last four Wednesdays.
Among the three channels that showed the India-Pakistan clash, Star Cricket got the highest TVR at 4.7%, translating to 33 million viewers. Star Sports got 27 million and DD 28 million.