Though Star TV took out an advertisement in the newspapers announcing to the world that their TRP ratings had indeed increased, even though IPL was in full swing, it was a statement of bravado. The fact is that the General Entertainment Channel (GEC) of television are experiencing massive drop in TRP and they would have to endure it till the time the IPL is over. Even the footfalls in cinema theatres have shrunk and the film folks do not know what has hit them!
During the second season of IPL when the matches were played in South Africa, inspite of the unfavorable timing of matches, the TRP ratings had dropped between 10-15 percent. The media planners are envisaging near about the same drop out in viewership in the current year as well.
The percentile viewership of the Hindi GEC which was at 31.1 percent before the start of the IPL in the third season fell down to about 27%, and the matches are still in the league stages. If the trend continues, then the GEC Channels are indeed going to take a major hit in their viewership when the matches move to the qualifying stages.
But is this a cause of concern, or is it a cause worth celebrating? Industry experts are of the view that it is not that much a cause of concern, because if the GEC are able to hold on to the decline of viewership by only 10-15 percent, then it can be presumed that they are able to sustain the interest of the audience.
May be, a factor that is not being included is the fact that the exams are nearly over all over the country, so for the GEC in Hindi and in other regional languages a new category of viewers has also cropped up which has an eclectic taste for other entertainment programmes as well. Besides, the majority GEC watchers are women who after the completion of exams of their children would find sufficient time to catch on with the entertainment programmes that they had to leave behind.
One thind is for sure, advent of IPL has changed the manner in which the media planners plan and slot the programmes. Now they would have to0 factor in the IPL henceforth and the notion of prime time viewing would also have to change. IPL indeed has become a point of disruption in the Indian social, entertainment and day-to-day life.
By: Suman Rai