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The Drum

Vivo Indian Premier League attracts record audience due to regionalisation

Indian Premier League attracts record audience in first weekend

The Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket season started this weekend and BARC statistics claim reach had smashed records, with a 31% growth.

The opening weekend attracted 219 million viewers, according to reports, which represented an increase of almost a third in the space of one year.

Vivo, a Chinese tech business, currently holds the rights to one of India’s biggest sporting event, with a deal that lasts five years. Brands are heavily invested in the game, with Burger King this year dedicating a new burger to its team the Mumbai Indians.

A lot of the growth has come from Indian broadcasters and the IPL investing in a regionalisation strategy, including adding more regional languages to the show.

According to a report in the Economic Times, Marathi and Malayalam languages were added this year. With eight languages used across the games, also including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali, it’s the most languages for an Indian sports tournament so far.

According to BARC statistics, this helped grow the reach in Hindi speaking markets (by 30%) while in the South reach grew by 20%.

Localising against languages and content is a growing trend in India as publishers and businesses seek the participation of more rural communities. There is also a trend towards people wanting to be spoken to in a more relevant manner, as people become more aligned with their identity. Acknowledging this is why global businesses such as Vice Media and Google have both invested in some local language services.