Cricket contributes 65%+ to sports viewership in India YoY: BARC THiNK

766 million viewers sampled sports content in India in 2018, 93 per cent of all sports viewers in 2018 watched cricket content. This was revealed by BARC India in its latest edition of THiNK newsletter, where it analysed the impact of cricket on television viewership. 

Sports viewership year-on-year has gone up in the 2016 to 2018 period. From 43 billion impressions in 2016, the viewership has gone up to 51 billion impressions, growing at a CAGR of 9 per cent. Though other sports like Kabaddi, Wrestling and Football are gaining popularity within the Indian audiences, Cricket is the jewel in the sports viewership crown with upwards of 65 per cent of viewership contribution year-on-year. 

According to the report, youth continues to be the highest consumer of Live cricket with, 35 per cent viewership of Live cricket contributed by 15-30 year olds in 2019. Women formed 48 per cent of cricket viewers for 2018 with 342 million viewers. Meanwhile, women’s cricket scored on ROI as compared to International T20 leagues and Domestic cricket. The Women’s World Cup Final between India and England had a viewership of 39 million impressions.

Read More: BARC teams up with 3 global majors to align audience measurement operations

The Indian Premier League (IPL) continues to score year over year, growing both in terms of viewers as well as average watch time per viewer – 28 minutes to 34 minutes from 2016 to 2018. 

The report further states that the footprint of cricket is not restricted to just sports channels and goes well beyond them. Overall, there is 25 per cent growth of cricket viewership in 2018 over 2016, for the same period, cricket viewership on sports channels grew by 79 per cent. 

The dynamics of live cricket on non-sports channels has seen a change from 2018. The drop in non-sports channels viewership for cricket content in 2018 can be attributed to majority of IPL Season 12 telecast moving to channels in the Sports genre. 

The last 3 years have seen a steady increase in cricket content on sports channels. Apart from international cricket matches to the national favourite IPL, viewers today have a wide array of choice. 

Cricket content on television is approaching the 1-million hour mark annually, with 89,000 hours being clocked in 2018. Non-sports channels carried 4,700 hours of cricket content in 2016 and upwards of 5,400 hours in 2018. Some news channels have the same cricket programme titles running over last 3 years. 

As far as advertising is concerned, 14 per cent growth in ads across all cricket content was seen from 2016 to 2018. Ads in India Matches grew at 38 per cent from 2016 to 2018. As per the BARC report, there was 14 per cent growth in the number of ads on Live telecast of International matches in 2018 vis-à-vis 2017. Meanwhile, ads in India Matches witnessed 18 per cent growth and 17 per cent growth in 2017 and 2018, respectively. 

E-commerce emerged as the dominant sector, with share of ads going up from 14 per cent in 2016 to 42 per cent in 2018. On the other hand, smartphones and telecom ads have decreased to 11 per cent in 2018 from 24 per cent in 2016. 

Key highlights: 

  • Cricket clocked 12.3 billion impressions in 2018 despite the absence of international tournaments in the year
  • The top 2 most watched ODI matches between 2016 and 2018 were played between India & Pakistan
  • Women’s cricket viewership albeit lower than their counterparts displayed signs of growth year on year
  • Women’s World Cup final between India and England had a viewership of 39 Mn impressions
  • With over 89,000 hours, cricket programming is up by 79% in 2018 over 2016
  • Viewership dominated by T20 matches in 2016
  • Viewership dominated by One Days in 2017
  • 50% of IPL viewers are less than 30 years of age
  • IPL in 2019 clocked in 1.53 Bn impressions minus the final match viewership
  • 14% growth in ads across all cricket content from 2016 to 2018
  • E-Commerce has emerged as dominant sector with share of ads going up from 14% in 2016 to 42% in 2018
  • Domestic cricket is growing on the back of T20 matches as T20 format dominates viewership
  • Youth (15-30-year olds) still dominate cricket viewership with 35% of live cricket viewership coming from this audience
  • Cricket hungry viewers are lapping up other cricket content like Women’s cricket, domestic T20, International T20 leagues
  • Ranking of top advertise categories change over the years although high involvement campaigns are the norm

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