IPL T20: Manoranjan ka baap, cricket ki maa-behen?

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This must rank as one of the worst cricket telecasts ever. As if listening to Kris Srikkanth speaking English is not bad enough, we had to listen to him attempting Hindi too, the other day. And less said about the hunger for ad breaks the better. Bloggers are having a field day day talking about it – the best one that I have come across is here.

Can’t fault poor SET MAX for the desperation to find any slot available in the screen for ads and generally disrupt the game with sound mnemonics. Its market share rose to 28.8% from a mere 5.7% just a few weeks ago. In its second week itself, IPL’s TRP has soared up to 4.7, which is higher than the highest rated television soaps. For men over 15 years, the ratings for IPL move up to 7.3. And what does one say about that eager-beaver who switches to ads as soon as he thinks a 6-ball over has been bowled? Never mind if the viewer misses the action?

No wonder SET MAX is hiking ad rates, from present average rate of Rs 2.15 lakh per 10 seconds to Rs 3-3.5 lakhs per 10 seconds. According to NDTV Profit, the spot rates for the last 10 matches will go up even higher to around Rs 4 lakh per 10 seconds. This means that IPL ad rates are almost double the world cup ad rates of Rs 1.5 lakh per 10 seconds and significantly higher than T20 world cup ad spot rates of Rs 2 lakh per 10 seconds, keeping sas bahu serial ad rates trailing at an average of around Rs 70,000 per 10 seconds.

Not that I did not enjoy the game – some of the matches were really exciting. But when there is an overdose of sixes, when its more hitting than batting…it tends to get boring. And the mindless use of commercial time is not helping the cause either. As I have said earlier, advertising is seen as a flaky profession in any case – this gives credence to such perceptions. And why on earth do they have to begin the telecast a good one hour before the match? Who watches them anyway? That hour must feature as the most dense cliches-per minute in television history. It happens with ESPN-Star too with post match analysis of every ball running one hour past the match. Oh, how i long for the Channel 9 telecast with Richie Benaud!

There were a lot of doubters about the IPL’s format but city loyalty seems to work. The crowds seem to cheer for any player irrespective, but the cheers get louder for the local team. Never mind that in teams like the Super Kings, there’s hardly anything Chennai about the players. For the television viewers like me, it is the quality of the game that matters. And a great telecast is vital for that. Until that happens, there will be petitions like these.

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