The Indian Premier League's (IPL) viewership numbers for the first week are out and the consumption patterns among viewers indicate that the popular T20 tournament, as expected, has been able to satiate their thirst for live and exciting sporting content – off limits for the past few months due to the coronavirus-induced restrictions.
On viewership trends for this year’s edition, a report by BARC-Nielsen has revealed that viewership for HD sports channels has peaked.
Star Sports 1 HD Hindi has emerged as the top viewed channel among HD channels and Hindi speaking markets during the opening week of the tournament.
Does it mean the average Indian viewer is now willing to shell out extra for quality viewing?
Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and angel investor, said that people are now forced to stay indoors and the lack of entertainment avenues have played a part in the uptick in HD viewership.
"Many people are looking at a better TV watching experience because they know that watching movies in theatres is not a very safe option now. So, they don’t mind upgrading to HD. Due to work from home nowadays, many families have upgraded their home technology services like broadband plans and this has resulted in jump in OTT viewership numbers also," he explained.
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Mathias also believes the popularity of HD channels will be driven by sports channels.
"HD viewership will be primarily powered by sports channels and it will see strong growth due to the willingness of the upper income segment of the society to spend on quality viewing. However, other sections of the society will take some time to embrace it," he said.
The viewership figures of the IPL were expected to be mind-boggling and the property has once again proved that its popularity defies economic logic.
Both advertiser and brand count increased in this year's edition, a welcome sign for the sports ecosystem and reiterating the power of the brand.
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