IPL 2021: Viewership suffers decline after second wave of COVID-19

IPL 2021 seems to have suffered heavily in terms of its viewership facing a significant downfall, as the viewing minutes of the ongoing tournament have fallen by 30-35 percent as compared to that of the previous edition. The tournament, which is famous for attracting a huge viewership every year, has got itself caught up in the web of the pandemic’s second wave that has created a menace throughout the nation.

According to a report by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the total viewing minutes for the first 17 matches of IPL 2021 stood at 6.62 billion as compared to 8.34 billion for the first 14 matches in IPL 2020. In terms of the number of viewers too, it saw a 9.5% dip compared to the last year. While IPL 2020 registered 116 million viewers in the first 14 games, the first 17 games of this year’s campaign saw a decline of 11 million unique viewers going as low as 105 million.

The opening match of IPL 2021  saw a dip in viewership compared to that of IPL 2020. The uncertain circumstances that have impacted the tournament and its viewership, have also brought the investments by the advertisers under doubt. Vasudha Dawar, VP, Carat India said, “Most of the inventory for IPL was sold out this year and advertisers were locked in by March 2021,”.

Dawar also warned that if this trend continues with the broadcaster no able to produce the desired outcome, brands might seek for freebies and additional inventory.

Manika Juneja, EVP operations (West & South), WATConsult said, “Retail brands in the non-essential category and those that are not backed by VC funding are pulling back spends on IPL as their sales activities are dependent on local curbs.” She added that “The league is not looking as exciting as it did before it began. A 10-12% dip can be expected in media investments on Disney+Hotstar.”

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