When Home Minister P.Chidambaram announced on March 23 that elections were more important than cricket, the 64-year-old Congress leader could have been speaking for television audiences. At least that is what viewership figures for the first IPL weekend (over April 18 and 19) suggest.
Data released by viewership rating companies indicates more people watched the developments in the political arena than cricket on the first two days of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Even as IPL viewership in season two has dropped, elections continue to be a hit. IPL this weekend got 3.5 television rating points. The evening political news did better with 3.6, data from Audience Measurement and Analytics (aMAP) of the six metros showed. In 2008, 70 lakh people watched T20 matches on the first two days — compared to 56 lakh this year.
According to P.N. Vasanti of the Centre for Media Studies, sports dominated politics in TV and print media through 2008. “But after the announcement of elections, politics has managed more space.”