MUMBAI: In a season, which will see India play 13 Tests in 2016-17, the longer format of cricket has seen a revival in terms of following and viewership. Owing to intense finishes, audience numbers in the last three games at Mohali, Mumbai and Chennai in the India versus England series was good. Following India’s good performance, broadcast rights holder Star India and its digital sibling Hotstar too gained.
While India defeated the England cricket team comprehensively 4-0 in the five-match Test series, it was clear that Captain Virat Kohli and his team’s exploits were getting back the mojo associated with Test cricket. Team India’s cricketing exploits reflected on the numbers too: a total of 572 million impressions in the first four Tests in the urban market and a total of 956 million impressions in the all-India market.
The fourth Test saw Kohli hitting 235, his third triple century this year. According to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India ratings, the highest viewership, 246 million impressions, was garnered in the fourth Test, in which India defeated the visitors by an innings and 36 runs. This was also the highest rating for any Test featuring India in the last three years. Calculated on 4+ all-India pro-rata base, the data proves that it was indeed the ‘Biggest Test series of the Year’.
With Dean Jones clearly suggesting that Asia, in general, and India, in particular, need to like the longer format of the game for its survival, the ratings prove that audiences are on the right track. With the next test series at home lined up against Australia, there’s surely no dearth of excitement for the fans of the longer version of the game. The four match Test series starts on 23 February 2017.
Meanwhile, coming back to India vs. England series, the first Test got 244 million impressions in the all-India market and clocked 144 million impressions from the urban market. The second Test grew in numbers with 248 and 147 million impressions, respectively, in the all-India and urban market. The third Test saw a little lull, garnering 218 and 131 million impressions, respectively.