Data reporting is complex as of now: Neeraj Vyas

16 Apr,2013

The start to the sixth edition of IPL couldn’t have been better. At 100 million, the week 1 numbers from the tournament has generally surpassed expectations. But the sentiment is not as cheerful for Neeraj Vyas, Business Head of SET Max. According to him, the viewership numbers could have been more than what was reported had the digitization exercise not been underway. Especially data being reported from LC1 towns, which is turning out to be problematic for broadcasters, according to Mr Vyas.


Mr Vyas shares his viewership sentiments with Johnson Napier of MxMIndia, and what he expects from the tournament in the coming weeks.


The opening week numbers for IPL 6 seem impressive. Has the outcome been along expected lines?

We have reported 100 million viewers this year compared to 78 million in the first week last year. So in a way it is good. But given the fact that TAM’s reporting of numbers has undergone such a sea change since September 2012 when the DAS exercise kicked off…that is when a change was observed in the Universe size. That was also a time when the LC1 data started to be reported and the weightage again changing to 20-25 per cent of the total Universe…this suddenly resulted in ratings coming out of rural India out of nowhere. If you were to do an apple-to-apple comparison, all of this was not happening last year. Also when the IPL 6 started off was when the phase II of DAS was underway…so it’s a fairly complex data reporting environment right now where there could be a lot of abnormalities. I am not saying there are but there could be. So given all the flux in the market, the fact that we opened to these numbers goes to show that there is a massive appeal in the IPL and that through our efforts we have managed to get viewers to come and sample the property by large numbers again this year.


But digitization in a sense has helped you to attain high viewership numbers, hasn’t it?

Digitization has indeed helped; if you see the GRPs of SET Max it has jumped from 134 last week to 245 this week. We have virtually driven the growth with this property.


Despite the rise in overall viewership, the average match ratings for the first week have remained steady compared to last year. Why haven’t the numbers seen a spike?

As I said, the LC1 data from markets like MP, UP etc have an audience base of 0-50,000 which translates to very minute and small towns but these places will never give you high ratings because of the problems faced like power shortage for 7-8 hours etc…so television numbers for channels including GECs have only come down due to LC1. Also, the advertiser doesn’t buy a spot in the IPL to reach out to the LC1 audiences…so if you remove the LC1 audiences and compare it to what it was last year then there is a growth at an all-India level of 4.1 and in HSM markets at 4.5. So it’s a hugely successful story for us.


Do you think you were able to achieve the 100-million mark primarily due to the marketing initiatives undertaken? Any other factors that helped propel you to get there?

The marketing initiative has indeed worked well for us. The track is something that is being loved and imitated by audiences across age groups. It has helped lift the happiness factor among the masses and the marketing execution has only fuelled in it getting there.


Does this feat prove wrong the notion that cricket is seeing a downfall in India in recent times?

IPL is a brilliant mix of cricket and entertainment. The matches have been good so far and the intensity has been phenomenal. So the start has been excellent so far.


With such a bumper start, what are your expectations from the rest of the tournament?

It’s too early to predict. As I said, because of the DAS 2 issue there is always going to be a fluctuation in the numbers that get reported…some places digitization is happening in other places it is not..and we are talking about 38 cities here. Had it been any other year I could have given an estimate but that looks difficult right now with the DAS exercise underway.


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