Campaign India Team
Apr 09, 2009

MEC predicts IPL performance

Mediaedge:cia (MEC) has launched a study as part of their ‘Food for Thought’ series, which analyses the quantitative impact of factors like the general elections and change in venue on the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and attempts to understand viewer consumption patterns based around the IPL . The study takes into account a sample size of 1568 and was conducted from March 23 to 25 after the announcement of South Africa as the new venue. IPL’s season one data has been used as the base. 

MEC predicts IPL performance

Mediaedge:cia (MEC) has launched a study as part of their ‘Food for Thought’ series, which analyses the quantitative impact of factors like the general elections and change in venue on the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and attempts to understand viewer consumption patterns based around the IPL . The study takes into account a sample size of 1568 and was conducted from March 23 to 25 after the announcement of South Africa as the new venue. IPL’s season one data has been used as the base. 

The study attempts to understand the factors that most influence ratings. They were most likely to be affected by team preferences, preference for Indian players and also match timings. The top 10 matches were on par or better in terms of performance while the bottom 25 matches were worse off in terms of performances. In the study, matches of three teams namely Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indian emerged as most likely to garner higher ratings vis a vis last year’s average. What this implies for advertisers and media, according to MEC, is the ability to negotiate with broadcasters for differential pricing for the bottom rung matches, allowing for negotiation with broadcasters for team based packages.

Explaining the rationale behind the study, Shubha George, Managing Director, Mediaedge:cia, said, “Apart from the general interest value that IPL has among advertisers, brands and agencies, one of the main reasons for this study is the high investment riding on the IPL which is likely to continue in future seasons. This is not something that we see as immediately impacting how we are going to buy, sell or plan inventories around the second season of IPL, but more as an understanding of how consumers are consuming IPL. Once that is known, moving forward, we can estimate with a greater degree of confidence how seasons are going to change. The ‘Food for thought’ series is something we do across the world in different markets, which we are now introducing to India. IPL was the most topical and relevant subject to kickstart the series in India. That’s why there is a lot of data that we have in the study in terms of what consumers are seeking for the future, which can give pointers.”

George admits that the timing for the study may seem a tad late given that the series is set to start soon and the majority of the inventory for the second season has already been sold, but points out that the study was designed as a pointer for future seasons.

She adds, “More importantly, for us it is not about doing research that is static and point in time to influence immediate buying, but really to set a longer term perspective on the view of how consumers are looking at this event. It’s not just about here and now, and this year but about understanding the interaction of consumers with this sport.”

George says that the single most important takeout from the study for the future was in understanding factors influencing ratings. “Those factors are unlikely to change. What will change is, within those factors, the ratings of different teams. What we observed in the study is that the popularity of the teams is the single highest influencing factor. The second factor is the Indian stars and the timing of the match, in terms of the day of the week and the timings. Foreign players are also being seen as a huge draw as they are seen to make the tournament more exciting.”

Star power is also an important factor. Kolkata is the fourth most popular team even though it did not perform very well last year. A lot of that is attributed to the charisma of Saurav Ganguly and Shah Rukh Khan. “Knowing these factors, when we go into season three next year, it would be a safe bet to assume that the teams that will emerge popular are most likely to be driven by those that are succeeding such as Rajasthan Royals or Chennai Super Kings,” she adds.   

On how broadcasters would react to the suggestion of differential pricing for lower rung matches, George answers, “They may not buy instantly. The fact is, as most seasons go by, efficiencies will start getting questioned. Today, it is season two and there is a lot of excitement. Maybe that will continue in season three as well as the series returns to India. But like in any continuing reality/sporting event, efficiencies will start getting questioned. When we say that one needs to look at the bundling of matches, it does not mean that one should combine only the top ten matches, but how will you ensure that you prudently mix the top matches with the bottom or mid level matches. Sony does it themselves for the World Cup. Perhaps they will have to start packaging matches. Then instead of just looking at them from top to bottom, we could look at them as team based matches. The planning can also be more localized. It will also, to some extent, reduce the entry level cost for brands.”

Some Key Takeaways

- Pitching season one against season two of a successful format, with all factors being constant, IPL season two will see an average hike of 5% in viewership.

- An average league match rating drop of 7% expected across the 56 league matches.

-The change of venue does not seem to change viewer interest in the series. 73% of the respondents have stated that the change in venue does not affect the amount of TV they would be viewing.  

-50% of the respondents claim that there will be no difference in their IPL viewing, because of the elections. 10% have said that they will watch less of the IPL due to the election coverage, while 24% have stated that they will not watch the election coverage.

-Polling Day/ Counting Day Impact is expected to be -5% on polling day and -10% on counting days

-Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings emerge as the teams most likely to garner the highest TRPs for their matches.

- While MS Dhoni emerges as the most popular Indian player in the series, Kevin Pietersen is the most favoured foreign player.

-In terms of team ranking with respect to Indian stars, Chennai Super Kings is the most popular, while it is third in terms of team ranking with respect to foreign stars.

Source:
Campaign India