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‘Overwhelming response’, says Disney Star; IPL TV viewership returns to pre-pandemic levels as viewer fatigue wears away

Ahmadabad : GT’s Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan greets CSK players after winning the first match of IPL 2023 between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday, March 31, 2023. (PHOTO: IANS/Siddharaj Solanki)

Mumbai : The Indian Premier League (IPL) has seen a significant increase in TV viewership for its season opener between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings. According to BARC data, the opening fixture clocked a total of 8.7 billion minutes of consumption on TV, which is 47% more than last year and the highest ever, other than IPL editions played during the pandemic-induced lockdown.
However, recent reports suggest that the IPL’s TV ratings have declined in the past couple of years due to viewer fatigue. Star Sports recorded a TVR of 5.6 for the opening fixture in 2022, the lowest in the last six editions.
As viewers returned to their TV screens for the sixth time in three years, they found other distractions when India returned to a more normal way of life after a nearly 21-month lockdown, leading to a decline in TV viewership. The TVR for the opening fixture saw a decline from 2020 (10.36) to 2021 (8.25) and further to 2022 (5.6).
The entertainment industry is not alone in experiencing sharp rises and falls due to the pandemic. The travel and hospitality industry has seen a sharp decline in revenue and demand due to travel restrictions and lockdowns. However, with the easing of restrictions and the return of normalcy, many businesses in this sector have seen a surge in demand.
Similarly, the e-commerce industry has seen a significant increase in demand as more people turned to online shopping during the lockdowns. With the rise in vaccination rates and the gradual return of normalcy, this sector has also seen a decline in demand and now gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels.
However, the recent season opener’s TVR of 7.29 indicates that IPL fatigue is now behind us, and the TV viewership in 2023 has returned to a more normal level. This TVR is comparable to 8.0 in 2019 and 7.2 in 2018.
As per the information received, the average time spent per viewer watching IPL on TV in 2023 is the second-highest if one were to exclude the peak Covid-19 years of 2020 and 2021. Time spent per viewer in 2023 was 76 minutes compared to 78 minutes in 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the average time spent per viewer stood at 81 minutes and 79 minutes, respectively.
Sanjog Gupta, Head – Sports, Disney Star, in a statement in response to the opening day viewership said, “We are humbled with the overwhelming response that #IPLonStar has received from fans across the country. The massive growth in viewing time is a testament to the success of our campaign, focus on building virtues of Star Sports’ broadcast, continuing dominance of linear Television as the preferred platform for uninterrupted viewing of live Cricket and most of all, the deep relationship we share with Cricket fans.”
The IPL’s TV viewership has returned to pre-pandemic levels after initially dropping due to viewer fatigue. With the recent increase in TV viewership and time spent per viewer, it remains to be seen whether the IPL can sustain this trend throughout the current season.



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