IPL vs Drama: Who will win this match?

22 May,2013


By Meghna Sharma


Since its inception, the cricket Indian Premiere League (IPL) has been in the news – sometimes in the best of ways but often for all the bad reasons, but this hasn’t made any difference to the cricket-crazy country. When the almost-two-month-long tournament starts, there is very little else that occupies top of mind for the Indian public.


For television channels, it is an extra busy time. In addition to their own one-upmanship battles, they also have to step up programming to beat the IPL’s popularity.


Most channels, especially English entertainment, try to woo audiences with special packages. For instance, Zee Studio started it early with its package – Powerplay 2.0, which aimed at its male TG through action movies and lasts till the end of the month. “Cricket being a religion in this country, the idea is not to counter IPL but to create a property that viewers can move on to post the matches,” says the channel spokesperson.


Prashaant Bhatt

According to the recent data, IPL has impacted ratings, especially that of GECs. And with around 10 days left of the extravaganza, what can or should a channel do to boost its ratings during the yearly event? “IPL is one of the biggest events on television. And it does have an impact on all entertainment channels but beyond a point, since because both have different sets of audiences, the impact varies,” says Prashaant Bhatt, Weekday Programming Head, Colors.


The channel, however, says that their launches and highpoints are thought through months in advance, keeping in mind the audience viewing preferences and content requirements of the channel. “This year as well, we planned our strategy accordingly and now we have four of our shows in the top 10, which is a testament to the fact that we are going about it the right way with our plans. We reckon that there is a loyal audience for cricket just as GECs, and don’t see a huge overlap of the two. Moreover, if the content and concept of the show is strong, the audiences will continue to watch their favourite shows over IPL.”


Having said that, one can easily see that most of them do make certain efforts to make sure that they don’t lose out viewers by showing either maha-episodes or blockbuster movies. Many GECs even wait till the event to finish before they can launch their shows. Jhalak Dikhla Ja, Indian Idol Junior and Dance India Dance are some.


On the other hand, for youth entertainment channels like Comedy Centeral or MTV, UTV Bindaas, the IPL doesn’t matter as most show re-runs of their popular shows during that time slots. Indrajit Ray, Director, Content, DisneyUTV says, “Despite IPL, our channel’s ratings have grown. The genre usually doesn’t get affected by IPL because of the content it showcases. Youth will consume it irrespective of whether IPL is there or not.”


And since cricket cuts through age, are children’s channels wary too? “April, May and June are very important months for the entire category thanks to the kids being on vacations. Over the years we have noticed that IPL has a minimal impact on the category with 5-10 percent deviation. Since it is summer vacation time, we at Nick have a content and marketing strategy that will ensure that kids stick continuously on the channel with the least amount of outage. We will put our best foot forward with our frontrunners Ninja Hattori, Motu Patlu, Keymon Ache and Pakdam Pakdai. Apart from the new shows/seasons there will also be a lot of interactivity through contests like ‘Party with Ninja’ to keep the kids engaged beyond TV,” says Mr Ray.


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