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New TV tariff regime hits cricket viewership
Economic Times, March 09, 2019

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) new tariff regime is hurting the ongoing India versus Australia cricket series as many TV viewers have not been able to watch the matches thanks to disconnection of sports channels.

As per viewership data sourced from a BARC India subscriber, the two T20 matches across nine Star Sports channels clocked 18.99 million average impressions each in the All India (urban and rural) market for the age group of over 2+ years. Average reach of the matches was 53 million.

Impressions are total number of individuals who viewed the match, averaged across minutes. Reach is total number of individuals who viewed the event for at least 1 minute. Incidentally, in the last four home series —West Indies (Nov'2018), Sri Lanka (Dec’2017), New Zealand (Nov’2017) and Australia (Oct ‘2017) — average reach and impressions were much higher. For instance, average impression per match for three T20 matches with West Indies was at 22.31million while reach was 65 million.

Similarly for Sri Lanka, NZ and Australia’s previous tours, average impressions per match was at 26.14 million, 29.5 million and 19.9 million respectively, while reach per match was 72 million, 69 million and 70 million, respectively.

BARC India refused to verify the viewership data as it has stopped releasing data in the public domain as it has been hampered by on-ground changes because of the new tariff order.

Trai’s new tariff order allows consumers to select and pay for channels they want to watch. However, the migration on-ground has been slow and many consumers have not been able to exercise the rights to choose channels, or have not been migrated to their selected plans. This has led to Trai ordering cable and DTH operators to migrate consumers on best fit packs, which do not contain sports channels.

ET reported earlier this week that many consumers are feeling helpless, finding themselves at the mercy of their service providers’ whims.

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