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IPL6: Controversies drag down average TVRs to lowest in history

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MUMBAI: The verdict is out and it clearly shows that this time around the cash rich league which was in the news for all the wrong reasons appears to be losing its brand value.

The tournament - if ratings made available to indiantelevision.com by a channel are to be believed - generated an average cumulative (both Max and Sony Six) TVR of 3.1 in Hindi speaking markets (HSM) and 3 in C&S 4+ all India. This was much lower than the 3.45 HSM average TVR it reported last year, and probably the lowest in its six year history. In 2010, the average TVR was 4.65, and in the inaugural year the number was 4.81 TVR.

There is much more in store. The IPL final between CSK vs MI also saw a dip in ratings this year as compared to last year. It recorded a TVR of 5.4 on Max alone; the cume rating (with Six and Max included) looks a lot more respectable at 7.3 for HSM and 6.9 all India CS 4+.

As a comparative, the 2012 final between KKR and CSK registered a TVR of 8.92; the 2011 final between RCB and CSK saw a 6.44 TVR; the 2010 final between MI and CSK reported 10.48; the 2009 final between DC and RCB ran up a 9.92 TVR and finally the first season final between RR and CSK had a very healthy rating of 9.81 (The ratings for the previous year‘s are for Max only and do not include Six as there was no such channel in the Sony Entertainment Network then).

What goes? Is the loaded with money league beginning to sag? Madison Media CEO Karthik Lakshminarayan believes it is. "The brand and the image of the IPL has definitely taken a beating. The rating numbers that have been thrown up are very surprising."

"The IPL ratings have certainly not come up to our expectations," expounds Vivaki Exchange CEO Mona Jain. "The controversy surrounding the IPL this time around also is a cause for the same."

Max executive VP & business head Neeraj Vyas says the Sony Network management is fairly satisfied with the ratings the tournament has generated.

"I am not over the moon," he expresses. "But I am fairly satisfied. Let me state that it would be grossly unfair to compare this year‘s ratings with earlier years. It would be rather silly. Remember LC1 has been given a 25 per cent weightage by TAM earlier this year. These LC1 towns have power cuts 12-14 hours a day. Then the TAM universe changed about a month or so ago. All these factors make it appear as if you are comparing watermelons and lemons."

"Last year the tournament witnessed a strong viewership base of 162 million, we had managed to increase that number to 176 million viewers halfway into the tournament and it could well have crossed the 200 million barrier had TAM not changed its universe a month ago on 5 May," he further states.

Other views that are being put forth to explain the dip in ratings include the fact that ennui is developing among cricket watchers on account of the cricket glut on TV.

Another view is that the spot-fixing controversy put off many viewers from the action on the field.

The third perspective that is being silently spoken of is that the switch off and switch on in phase I and II of the government mandated cable digitisation process has dampened the ratings.

Be that as it may, it remains to be seen whether advertisers‘ annoyance with lower ratings leads to any other action from their side.

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