Media planners unconvinced that 'Extraa Innings' packs in female viewers

MUMBAI: Just how much has Extraaa Innings expanded the "non-purist" cricket audience base? That Charu Sharma, his "angels" and crew, were expected to beat the "few good men" of ESPN Star Sports was always a no-brainer. Especially on the back of the live World Cup telecast.

But the jury is still out among media specialists as to just how far MAX attempt to "get in the housewives" has been a success.

The ratings for 9-15 February 2003 show that MAX Extraaa Innings has attained some element of success. MAX officials claim that they have hit the requisite target audience. Among the segments, the two-hour pre-match Extraaa Innings attracted a high female viewership, delivering an average rating of 1.1, while the half-hour lunch segment delivered a higher rating of 1.2, an official release says.

Optimum Media Solutions Amit Ray says: "Given a choice, the females would still prefer the soaps in the afternoons and even during the live matches. After the matches, the females will definitely watch the primetime serials."

Everest Integrated Communication client servicing manager Vinay Kanchan says: "I don't think that putting a woman in a programme makes it appealing to women. Women themselves might find these characters who appear quite irritating. The manner in which commentary is done in the current day and time, the game is made quite simple for even a common man (or woman) to understand. The experts are very good (legends like Gavasker, Boycott, Barry Richards ) and you like (and this holds true for women as well I guess) to listen to them uninterrupted. The females add a new dimension and some unnecessary comment quipped in between such as - 'Oh his square drive is sooo cute'!"

Mindshare Fulcrum MD Vikram Sakhuja says: "Our analysis on Extraaa innings shows that the ratings the program is picking up, especially after the match are not too special. These are the ratings that the channel would have got anyway. Also, while competitive channels have shown big drops during live cricket, they have not been hurt during the Extraaa Innings."

"Since media is talking about how Extraaa Innings has been fashioned for entertainment audiences (and not just the sports purists). So basically, the jury is out if Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma are successful in adding appeal. I will stick to Ganguly and company," Sakhuja adds.

WPP Media research shows that the Extraaa Innings ratings in the "Soaps" TG (Sec ABC, 15+ females, C&S in all India): is as follows:

SAF vs WI - 2.1

SL vs NZL - 0.6

ZIM vs NAM - 0.4

AUS vs PAK - 1.4

BAN vs CAN - 0.4

SAF vs KEN - 0.3

IND vs HOL - 1.6

WI vs NZL - 0.4

SL vs BAN- 0.4

KEN vs CAN- 0.3

IND vs AUS - 1.9

Madison Media COO (West) Punitha Arumugam says: "No! Extraaa Innings has not drawn female viewers as can be seen from the figures below. The ratings are as per the expectations we had earlier.Advertisers will definitely prefer live cricket matches to wrap around programmes as the involvement will be far higher with the programme and hence with the ads during the live telecast rather than the wrap around programmes."

Madison Media's research shows

- Extraa Innings : For every 100 male viewers there were 68 female viewers on an average.

- SET MAX regular programmes : For every 100 male viewers there were 105 female viewers on an average.

- SONY regular programmes : For every 100 male viewers there were 135 female viewers on an average.

Sony executive V-P and MAX business head Rajat Jain however maintains: "In fact, Extraaa Inningscan be credited with igniting the cricket passion among female viewers. Even before India played its first match, Extraaa Innings attracted 16.2 million female viewers, which swelled to an unprecedented 17.1 million females by the end of week 1 of the action of the ICC Cricket World Cup on MAX."

Extraaa Innings delivered an average of 1.1 among females in C & S HHs (cable & satellite Households), with India matches notching 1.5 and non-India matches delivering 0.9 TVRs. "These ratings are specially significant when compared to past cricket wrap-around programmes in competing channels which never delivered more than 0.03 among this TG," said Jain.

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