Public response to the Indian Premier League (IPL) seems to be going on a downward spiral. The latest ratings show a marked slump in the television viewership for the Twenty20 extravaganza. The TRPs for the first week of IPL-5, currently underway in different parts of the country, is at an all-time low.
The latest Tam Sports ratings, widely accepted figures for television viewership, indicate a drop in about 19% in the first week of the tournament. The first six matches of IPL-5 have recorded an average rating of 3.76. In the corresponding period last year, the average TRP or TVR (Television Viewership Ratings) was 4.63.
The 18.7% fall from last year’s rating is galling considering that IPL-4 started less than a week after an emotionally draining World Cup, won by India. Last year’s low ratings were attributed to the fatigue caused by the World Cup. In such a backdrop, there is little explanation for this year’s fall in TVRs other than diminishing viewer interest in the IPL.
“The IPL viewership figures have been going downward for some time. The development is not surprising,” said Ajit Verghese, managing director, Maxus. “It is too early to come to a conclusion, but there could be various reasons. Nowadays, people are watching matches in different places and using different platforms such as hotels, theatres and mobile phones. If there are some good matches in the future, the ratings might improve. But overall, the viewership for Indian cricket has been going down.”
The cumulative viewership of the league has also suffered a considerable drop. Compared to 1,01,774 last year - maximum in IPL history - the first week of IPL-5 has recorded a cumulative viewership of 90,130. What’s more, the opening ceremony of IPL-5 had a pathetically low rating of 1.16. Last year, it was a healthy 3.03. Programmes of that genre like film awards with Bollywood flavour generally attract a much higher rating.
Lalit Modi, who posted the ratings on social networking site Twitter, said these are early days and that they may go up as the tournament progresses. “These are early days. We’ve some excellent matches lined up in the days to come. We might get to see an increased level of interest in the IPL,” he told DNA.