Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 is attracting more women audience on television than ever before. Indian Premier League live broadcast has been the most watched programme across all genres and channels for the past two weeks. This also highlights the fact that the IPL has drawn away eyeballs from general entertainment channels, which normally rely on women audience for daily soaps and other family programmes.
The average IPL audience among women has increased by almost 18%, business daily Economic Times has reported with a reference to data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council. The women audience for the first three weeks has have registered 10.3 million impressions. Male audience is up by 15% to 13.9 million in the first three weeks this year.
The cumulative reach is up from 43.6% last year to 45.3% this year as around 145 million women viewers aged 15 years and above have watched the matches across India between March 23 and April 12.
The league this year is being broadcast across 24 channels in eight languages – Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Hindi, English, Marathi and Malayalam on Sundays. Star India has just doubled the number of screens for the IPL broadcast, which last year was aired in six languages across 12 channels.
On Sundays, the matches are also being aired on movie and GEC channels like Star Gold (Hindi), Vijay Super (Tamil), Maa Movies (Telugu), Star Suvarna (Kannada), Jalsha Movies (Bengali), Star Pravah (Marathi) and Asianet Plus (Malayalam).
“We have seen disproportionate growth in viewership among women and kids in the first three weeks of IPL. Our objective has been to broad base the cricket audience and some of the programming is integrated with entertainment and Bollywood,” says Gautam Thakar, CEO of sports at Star India. “Our regionalisation strategy also offers a huge opportunity for more consumption within women of all ages,” Thakar said.
The BARC data shows a 17.7% growth in consumption or time spent. About 36% of the time spent watching the IPL, or 56 billion minutes, were by women. This has triggered a rush among brands focusing on women, such as Lotus Herbals, Fena Detergent, Senco Gold & Diamonds, Usha Appliances, Rasna and Fashion Big Bazaar and FabIndia for sponsorship or advertising either on television or with teams.
Mondelez, Swiggy, Colgate, P& G, Godrej, Vadilal and several family brands aimed at women and children are also sponsors or advertisers. “Content, vernacular feeds and a strong regionalisation strategy has led to a massive increase in women contributing to the viewership of IPL so far,” Preeti Mascarenhas, principal partner of strategy at WPP-owned Mindshare, which buys media for Hindustan Unilever, Ford and Nike, said.