Lanka tri-series final rockets Ten Sports to top of ratings

MUMBAI: Wah cricket! Lousy performances by the Indian team in the recent past notwithstanding, cricket is about the only television activity that can dislodge Star Plus' soaps from their permanent perch atop the ratings charts.

For the recently concluded triangular involving India, West Indies and Sri Lanka, broadcaster Ten Sports made big gains on both the ratings (and by extension advertising revenues) and distribution fronts.



The Ratings Scenario: Clearly on Indian television there are only two kinds of shows that can get more ratings than Star Plus's soaps - India cricket and KBC. Tam data for the period 7-13 August 2005 c&s 4+ shows that the final of the Indian Oil Cup tri series between India and Sri Lanka managed to capture the number one spot followed by Star Plus' Kaun Banega Crorepati 2. What is remarkable is that the top spot was for the time period 8:40 pm to 10 pm on 9 August 2005 when it was more or less clear that India was facing defeat.

While the match play got a rating of 12.2, KBC 2 came in second with a rating of 11.1 followed by Kyunki Saas... with 9.6.

It is pertinent to note that normally, when the Indian cricket team is losing, viewers tune out in a rush. What is also striking is the fact that the tri series gets mentioned no less than 31 times in the Top 100 listing. The match between India and West Indies for a place in the final also gets a mention.

Exclusivity makes the difference: One critical factor for these ratings is obviously because Ten had exclusive rights to this event and did not have to share the feed with national broadcaster Doordarshan.

The impact of the exclusive telecast can be seen in that even specials like the pre-match Straight Drive and Wickets Package get a mention. Drinks Break Chat, which was sponsored by Pepsi, got a rating of 8.9. Clearly, viewers are more than a little interested in listening to the views of Sanjay Manjrekar and the rest of Ten Sports' cricket commentary team. It is worth pointing out that this is one of the very few instances in the past year where cricket was the number one show. In 2004 during an India-Pakistan match for the week 24-30 March 2004 Ten Sports had come out on top with a TVR of 12.73 followed by DD with 11.62.



Ten bags Rs 450 million from series - Information available with indicates that Ten Sports would have earned in the region of Rs 450 million through advertising revenues from this event. The title sponsor Indian Oil would have forked out around Rs 120 million as it had the on-ground rights as well. The other sponsors, including Maruti, Pepsi and Hutch, would have shelled out between Rs 25-30 million. Maruti sponsored the man of the series and gave away its recently launched Swift model as the prize.

Starcom's Manish Porwal says that the series, especially the final, certainly did better than expected. "The fact that viewers tuned in to the second part of the final in such a big way is something that was more than what had earlier been anticipated."

During this tournament, Ten Sports introduced Dartfish Technology. This was used to track the movement of the cricket ball to analyse leg before and caught behind decisions. The media fraternity is also happy with the fact that The One Alliance is distributing Ten Sports as it enables their brands to get better reach.

An industry observer says that Ten Sports has scored because of its brand integration efforts around the series. Cricket on the other hand is unpredictable. He points to how the rain affected the third match in the just-concluded Africa-Asia series. At the same time, when cricket delivers, it has the potential to blow ratings off the roof, he stresses.

Tri series takes Ten Sports' declared distribution past the five million mark: Further information available with indicates that joining the One Alliance has been mutually benefical. Before the tournament started, the Abdul Rehman Bukhatir promoted broadcaster had a declared distribution base of around 3.4 million. However, now with the conclusion of the Tri Series the declared distribution stands at around 5.2 million.

A huge push will come next year when India visit Pakistan. The channel expects the number of declared subscribers to cross 7 million. However, it goes without saying that this will depend on whether it will be able to avoid having to share the feed with DD. In terms of the increase in declarations the North, East, West and South have contributed in that order.

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