The Indian Premier League (IPL) website has recorded 13.7 million views in the twenty20 cricket tournament's opening week, compared with 8.8 million views in the same period last year – in stark contrast to disappointing initial TV figures.
Viewing on the Times Internet and Google powered site, which streams live IPL matches online as well as providing a raft of other services such as video on demand, represents a whopping 56% growth so far on IPL season 4.
Residents of New Delhi and Bangalore lead the online viewing league, each taking 14% of the market, with those in Mumbai registering a close third with 13%.
The highest viewer ratings came on 10 April for the matches between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, and Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings. In total 2.15 million views were registered that day, with 0.7 million unique visitors.
"Last year, we delivered a superior viewing experience and garnered significant audiences. This year, our emphasis is on higher interactivity and our strong social focus has paid off right at the start, becoming a sign of things to come over the duration of the season," said Rishi Khiani, chief executive, Times Internet.
The numbers of those watching IPL 5 on their mobile devices has also doubled from last year's traffic. In the first seven days of the competition, almost 0.6 million people watched cricketing action in India on the Apalya mobile TV platform via the Airtel, Idea, and Vodafone networks.
Praveen Sharma, head of media sales, Google India, added: "We're really excited to see the continuous growth in online viewership of IPL. This is the third year of our association with live streaming of IPL and the viewership numbers clearly indicate the distributed media consumption pattern of the Indian consumers."
In contrast, the average TV viewer rating (TVR) for the first six matches of IPL5 fell to 3.76 from an average last year of 4.63 among C&S 4+ across India, according to TAM Sports - a division of Mumbai-based audience measurement company TAM Media Research.
IPL 5 has, it says, reached 90.1 million TV viewers in its opening week, while IPL 4 – which was played on the back of a successful ICC World Cup campaign by the national cricket team of India - attracted 101.7 million.