The ICC Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan earlier this month was seen by 229 million viewers, 60% of the total number of viewers for the overall cricket tournament, according to viewership measurement agency BARC India. It was the most watched TV event of the league (World Cup) so far. A total of 381 million people have watched all the World Cup matches in the first three weeks of telecast, a statement from Star said.
The India-Pakistan match recorded 67 million impressions alone while all the World Cup matches have together notched up 311 million impressions.
Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.
The BARC numbers include viewership for channels on the Star network, the official broadcaster of the tournament as well as on Doordarshan’s free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home platform DD Free Dish. The Star network has alone recorded 206 million viewers for the India-Pakistan match and 367 million viewers for the tournament overall till now.
The broadcaster has been telecasting all matches in seven languages, English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, and Malayalam. Last week, Star Sports 1 Hindi emerged as the second highest watched TV channel in the country across genres after Hindi general entertainment channel Dangal TV, with 763 million impressions.
Interestingly, according to an earlier Mint report, the India versus Pakistan match in Cricket World Cup 2015 was watched by 288 million viewers on various channels of the Star network and state broadcaster Doordarshan, according to TAM, the viewership agency that was active then. “The overall viewership number can only be used as a directional metric. The BARC data meters and the sample have changed considerably in the last five years. The one inference that would be largely correct is that there has been a decline in viewership. However, to quantify that the viewership has declined 25% may not be accurate deduction looking at the data,” said Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media.
“Any match involving India and Pakistan is not watched for its sporting performance only but for the sense of nationalism it evokes,” said Ajit Gurnani, chief client officer at media agency Zenith India.
He added that it wouldn’t be fair to compare viewership of the present tournament to the previous one in 2015 given that measurement then was carried out by TAM (Television Audience Measurement) Media Research instead of BARC and matches were played in different time periods of the day.
To be sure, the latest BARC numbers show that the India-Pakistan numbers alone are quite close to the 269 million viewers across the country who had tuned into the matches over the opening week of the World Cup.
The inaugural week had recorded 107.2 million average impressions and a total of 180 million viewers had tuned in to watch India’s opening game against South Africa, which was held on 5 June.
The India-Pakistan numbers are significantly higher than the 127 million viewers who watched the Asia Cup in 2018 and only slightly lower than the 269 million viewers recorded during the ICC Final in 2017, both of which were played between the two countries. In India, the viewership for the tournament is significantly higher on the days when the Indian team is playing and has been boosted by its impressive performance.
Overall, the matches played by India in this World Cup have together garnered 321 million viewers and 150 million impressions, according to BARC. Forty-five percent of the entire viewership recorded by the World Cup matches played by India has been contributed by the India-Pakistan match.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.