IPL suffers early ratings downturn in India

A downturn in domestic ratings for the early stages of cricket’s 2012 Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament is causing concern about the long-term growth of the competition, according to the IndianTelevision media news website, citing industry analysts.

Data from media analysis company Tam showed that the average rating for the first six matches of this year’s tournament on Sony-owned pay-television channel Max was 3.76 – down from an overall average of 4.63 for the 2011 tournament and 4.99 for the 2010 edition.

Industry observers have blamed the recent poor form of the Indian national team and a series of one-sided matches in the early stages of this year’s league for the poor ratings.

“We never had high expectations from the IPL this season as ratings have taken a hit due to Indian team’s [bad] performance [in international cricket matches – the team does not compete in the IPL],” Ajit Varghese, managing director for South Asia at media agency Maxus and Motivator, said. “However the drop in ratings remains a concern.”

Sony, which holds the rights to the tournament in the Indian sub-continent in a nine-year deal from 2009 to 2017, has sold only 65 to 70 per cent of its total advertising inventory around the competition. Rohit Gupta, president of network sales, licensing and telephony for Sony subsidiary Multi Screen Media, which operates Max, said: “We need to give it another week. We are doing [advertising] deals.”