Indian sports viewership rides on expensive cricketing properties

The genre gets low ad volume despite a high viewership.

MUMBAI: In the media industry, the saying goes that if there is viewership, there are advertisements. However, this doesn't seem to be the case for the sports genre, if one were to go by BARC India's 2019 annual report. It mentions that sports as a segment has grown nearly 90 per cent in viewership in the last four years, but advertisement volumes are stagnant at one per cent during the same period. 

Experts say cricket being the only most-watched sport in India along with expensive cricketing properties such as the Indian Premier League is the reason for the fewer ad volumes.

Digitalkites senior vice-president Amit Lall says, “Unlike cricket and non-cricket sports category, India’s biggest domestic sporting event – Indian Premier League – has changed the whole ball game of the target audience. Sports which was seen as a male-target-audience-genre has now included a person of different age, gender, and class as their viewers due to the increasing popularity of IPL. Majority of brands are investing in cricket, especially in IPL. However, due to the massive viewership, the costing in IPL has gone up and brands with deep pockets are looking to leverage the other non-cricketing sports properties."

A recent BARC report also mentioned that the female viewership in the sports genre has seen an 8 per cent rise, eating out of the forte of  Hindi GEC. As per an earlier BARC India data, sports genre's women viewership had 17.6 billion impressions in 2018 while the viewership grew by eight per cent to 19.1 in 2019.

Despite all the data, cricket still leads. Lall says, “The co-sponsorship title of IPL which earlier could be bought for Rs 5 crore, is now sold for Rs 40-50 crore. However, the same co-sponsorship title in non-cricket property could be bought at just one-fourth the rate of IPL. The eyeballs on this property could be less but it will have maximum visibility if the target audience is bang-on.”

Dentsu Aegis Network India chief executive officer Anand Bhadkamkar agrees that Indian sports is run mainly because of the popularity of cricket. "Advertisers are comfortable with cricket as there is sure-shot reach and returns. Naturally, spends done on cricket is high as compared to non-cricket properties due to its massive viewership.”  

All said and done, the IPL has a lot working in its favour. Havas Media’s chief executive officer Anita Nayyar says: “Acquisition cost is higher in cricket, especially in IPL, as the tournament garners maximum eyeballs. IPL eats up 60-70 per cent sports ad spends of a brand. The cost that was Rs 5-6 lakh per 10 seconds in IPL has gone up to the Rs 8-10 lakh per 10 seconds, just because of the viewership rise of the tournament.”

Judging by what the channel said, IPL 2019 saw a total reach of over 462 million across the Star network.

However, despite an increase in viewership, sports other than cricket have hurdles. Nayyar adds, “Unlike cricket, which is watched pan-India, the other sports properties that are getting traction eventually are more regional in nature. Such as kabaddi is more of the north, football has keen enthusiasts in Kerala, West Bengal, and the Northeast region. These properties see the participation of regional advertisers and are reasonable as compared to pan-India-watched sports.”

“A sports property like IPL is most-watched but has high costing, whereas a non-cricket sports property with meagre viewership has reasonable price and could be one of the reasons for the stagnant ad volumes in sports that BARC has mentioned in its 2019 report,” explains Nayyar.

Bhadkamkar adds that apart from viewership on television, non-cricketing brands are indulging in non-traditional methods for promotion such as on-ground initiative, activations, etc. Moreover, apart from traditional sports, e-sports has become the talk of the town and brands do want to leverage it, too. Pro Kabaddi League is one of the non-cricketing sports that has been leveraging on-ground activations over traditional modes. 

Unlike event-specific genres such as sports, the top three genres such as news, GECs and movies continue to account for over three-fourth of the total ad volumes in 2019, says the BARC 2019 viewership report.

Latest Reads
Film, TV directors' association requests Maharashtra govt for changes in shooting guidelines

MUMBAI: The Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) has sent a letter to the Maharashtra government seeking the removal of certain clauses in the guidelines for resuming shooting of films, OTT shows, and television serials as they are difficult to be adhered to. Chief minister...

Television Production House Film Production
The Zoom Studios announces Intertainer 2020, India’s ultimate digital hunt for the best entertainer on internet’

As India continues to practice social distancing and safety measures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital world has paved itself to be an enabler to continue with our social lives, connecting with the outside world and also serving a creative platform for many budding talents.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
News18 India lines-up exclusive interview with Defence Minister on 2nd June @4PM

New Delhi: As the Modi government completes the first year of its second-term, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will speak about the major decisions taken by the government in the last one year in an exclusive interview with News18 India.At a time when India is battling to contain the spread of COVID...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Asianet starts airing popular serials

Prominent GEC in Kerala Asianet is back with some exciting entertainment for the audience. TV shoots which were stalled due to the Covid2019 outbreak have resumed following the guidelines issued by the government.

Television TV Channels Regional
Distressed studios ready to give concessions to producers

Huge financial losses, unbearable maintenance costs, the fear of impending rain ruining the sets... Studio owners in the country have been living with all these woes and challenges ever since the lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of Covid2019.

Television Production House Fiction
Producers in Maharashtra gearing up to resume shooting

MUMBAI: Producers are gearing up to resume production after Maharashtra government on Sunday gave the official sanction in this regard. The government gave green signal for the resumption of film and television shootings in non-containment zones.

Television Production House Film Production
B4U Kadak celebrates a year full of Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment!

Hindi Movie Genre in the Television Space has seen an influx of South Indian movies dubbed in Hindi. With larger-than-life stories the south Indian industry has spurted to a new high in the past few years and played a major role in the content mix of all the top movie channels of the country as...

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
Bengal’s Road to Recovery with Notun Disha, a ZEE 24 Ghanta E-Conclave

Zee Media Corporation Ltd.’s regional channel ZEE 24 Ghanta conducted an E Conclave with 7 Ministers on 30 May 2020. Notun Disha, ZEE 24 Ghanta E-Conclave was a continuous 3-and-a-half-hour session with ministers participating from various departments of the West Bengal Government.

Television TV Channels Regional
ZEE Keralam resumes serial line-up with fresh content

MUMBAI: After a two-month break, the serials of ZEE Keralam are starting afresh with new content. The seven serials that were already running successfully in the channel will start its telecast from 1 June onwards. Adding to their list of entertaining programmes, ZEE Keralam is also bringing a new...

Television TV Channels Regional

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required