Television

Max manages decent ratings from U-19 cricket cup

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MUMBAI: What had looked like a dead duck property ---Sony Television's broadcast rights for the recently concluded Under 19 World Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh --- has thrown up surprisingly good ratings for movies and events channel Max.

Expectedly, it was the semi-finals where India and Pakistan squared off that got people watching. The game, which aired on Sunday, 29 February, garnered TVRs of 2.13 (C&S TV Households, all-India All 4+) for the crucial second innings of the day-night match. The first innings also delivered a respectable 1.62 TVR.

Interestingly, even Sony did not expect the ratings to be so good. The Under-19 World Cup was seen to be a package still picking up and did not really have much of a viewership. The live feed on Set Max is believed to have been the critical success factor of this event. Also, a decent amount of promotional activities was lined up considering the fact, that the return the match was going to yield was ambiguous.

Max has been trying to build itself as a cricket platform apart from movies, and has bagged the Under 19 World Cup 2002 - 2007 package. Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Max executive vice president Rajat Jain says, "The live factor makes all the difference, and we are the first channel to do so. Another factor lending itself is the current cricket fever with India's tour of Pakistan which roped in more viewers. Lastly, the promotion campaign, which showcased the future faces of cricketers of India also lent to the ratings."

Max used the Under 19 series to lure more viewers for their channel. This strategy definitely seems to have worked. The previous edition of the U-19 World Cup, which also aired on Max, got a negligible response - just an average of 0.5 TVRs.

The immediate returns that the channel got during the tournament was that the overall reach of Max went up to 61 GRPs from 53 GRPs before it. The gains made during the event has also been retained somewhat with the GRPs currently at 56. What this means is that some percentage of the new audience has been retained, according to the channel.

Across the country it was the metros and the A grade towns and the 1 million+ markets that got the series the most eyeballs. The South was a significant contributor after Kolkata, viewers ranging below the age group of 24 yrs for the day matches and below 34 years for the day and night matches.

The presenting sponsors for the series were Hero Honda and Samsung and the associate sponsors being Videocon and Siyaram.

The next big bet on Max's platter is its big event for 2004, the ICC Champions Trophy 2004 in September in England.

Building on the U-19 ratings success, says Jain, "Now that people have understood that it delivers, developing the game and the ratings will not be such a task next time round."

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