A new study predicts a 2.5% increase in television viewership for Indian Premier League (IPL) series 5, which begins on 4 April, in comparison to the numbers who tuned into last year's IPL cricketing action.
The MEC IPL TV Rating Predication Study forecasts an average rating of 3.8 for the matches for the target audience C&S ABC 15+ in the all India market, reports Exchange4Media.
Digital viewing of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches is also reaching a critical point, splitting the traditional television audience in two with 38% of viewers watching some action online last season, according to the report.
T Gangadhar, managing director, MEC India said 38% of its survey respondents claimed they had watched a part of IPL online in 2011. "It means that the live streaming of the league is a great platform for advertisers," he said.
"The internet is a medium that is actively sought-out and consumed [unlike TV], so it becomes an even more effective platform. I am a firm believer of being ahead of the curve and this is a great opportunity for advertisers to do that instead of taking a 'let's-wait-till-the-internet-reaches-a-critical-mass' approach," he added.
Despite its increased popularity, the internet will not replace the trusty television set for IPL viewing. Each is expected to play to its inherent strengths, says MEC India.
"While our study shows that 22% of the respondents watched IPL online at home last year, it does not spell doom for TV. As that number grows, it may impact TV ratings but one must not forget a huge advantage TV currently enjoys – screen size and community viewing."
MEC predicts IPL season 5, which begins on 4 April, will have a similar reach on YouTube as last year. A third of the study's online respondents said they watched IPL action on YouTube in 2011, while 8% watched digitally via the Indiatimes portal.
The MEC ratings forecast analyses both channel share and people using television (PUT), with data gleaned from TV ratings from IPL and other major cricket events over the past four years.
"The research has been done across the nine IPL cities with a 100 sample per city among men and women, 15 years+, SEC ABC," explained Geetha Shiv, MEC national director, Analystics and Insight.