Times Internet sees 52 per cent growth in viewership for IPL

MUMBAI: As the online video usage grows across the country fans of the money spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) are going online as well.

This year Times Internet which is the IPL‘s digital partner decided to use Youtube and BoxTV as platforms. It focused on making the IPL a more social experience and the results are telling.

As per the viewership numbers recorded at 38 matches, which is 50 per cent of the tournament - IPL online across both and combined recorded a 52 per cent growth viewership over 2012 (75.2 million versus 49.3 million last year). Furthermore - the combined viewership of users watching highlights and clips saw a 480 per cent growth in watch hours over 2012.

This shows that the IPL is being used as a catch-up service to a large extent by people who may not have the time to watch live content. In India, Bangalore and Hyderabad lead the viewership with 14 per cent each, with Delhi coming in second at 10 per cent. The matches that registered the maximum online views were on 23 April between Royal Challenger Bangalore and Pune Warriors India and Mumbai Indians versus Royal Challengers Bangalore on 25 April. The viewers watch the live matches and highlights on YouTube and BoxTv.

Times Internet CEO Satyan Gajwani said, "Over the last two years, we‘ve offered IPL fans across the world a superior experience online and steadily grown a loyal viewer base. For IPL 2013, we‘ve worked hard to make the online experience more social and interactive than ever before, and our traffic numbers so far are proof enough that IPL fans are loving it."

He adds that this year‘s IPL is a far more social experience with Google + Hangouts integrations, and users being able to co-watch IPL with their friends. "We added a Match Tracker to should live data and information contextual to the video match experience."

Google India head of media sales Praveen Sharma said, "Better streaming experience, increased mobile and tablet device access and growing awareness about the availability of IPL online is fueling the growth in viewership. In the past, we usually saw rise in the first two weeks of the tournament and then it picked up again during the final week. But this year, the growth has been consistent through the tournament. At this rate we are hopeful of registering strong growth in total viewership by the end of the tournament over last year."

ZenithOptimedia partner Navin Khemka said that a lot of younger viewers are watching the IPL online. "The base is small but the growth has been tremendous. The key is the access cost to watch the IPL online. High speed broadband is not cheap. But the moment costs come down which could happen in the coming year IPL viewing online will reach a critical mass. Then advertisers will move towards it in a big way." Google which handled ad sales this time got six sponsors for the IPL this time including Maruti and Samsung.

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