While news, movies and general entertainment channels (GECs) are witnessing a surge in viewership, sports channels are witnessing a dip in consumption.
According to BARC-Nielsen data released on March 27, TV impressions for sports genre fell by 69 percent during COVID-19 the disruption, which was in week 11, starting from March 14.
In addition, daily average time spent (ATS) on sports channels in week 11 declined by 56 percent and daily average reach went down by 29 percent.
This is because sports channels are relying on archives.
Unlike GECs, sports on TV cannot attract audience in large numbers as the category survives on live content.
However, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many sports events have been cancelled or postponed. Now, sports channels are airing repeat telecast of old content.
While sports channels have strong content library to keep the channels going, the challenge is to keep the sports enthusiasts engaged. A big pool of sports fans enjoy live content and those watching old sports content are limited.
In fact, both, curated and library content, depend heavily on live sports to get the right traction.
But in the present situation, broadcasters are out of option and have to settle with old content in their libraries.
So, Star Network on its sports channels is offering matches from the 1983 ICC Cricket World Cup final to the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
More games from the past that are on offer, include 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup, 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and 2019 Cricket World Cup. Repeat telecast of the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 will start from April 12.
The network has also included non-live shows like Hindustan Zindabad, Sachin Presents, Silly Point Live, Sledgehammer and Frenemies.
Old IPL content to keep audiences entertained
The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 13th edition, which was to be aired on Star’s sports channels, has been postponed due to the pandemic.
Nonetheless, Star is not letting go of IPL and has scheduled IPL’s 50 big matches which starting March 29.
On Star Sports, IPL’s repeat content was the most-watched sports content in week 11, according to BARC data.
Content on Sony's sports channels
As for Sony, which also has strong sports content, is offering WWE Action which is new to India as it has so far not been telecast in the country.
Sony Sports will also air a show called Colour Me Blue - Jemimah Rodrigues – Up & Coming Star.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has also opened its archive of match footages, providing fans with an opportunity to relive some of the greatest cricketing moments, including India's World Cup triumphs as people stay indoors to fight COVID-19 pandemic.