17 OCT : The battle between the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) has now shifted from the terra firma to airwaves, with both cricketing bodies fighting it out for Television Rating Points (TRPs). Even as the "official" Indian and Australian team were slugging it out in Bangalore, the ICL launched his second season in the South Indian city of Hyderabad on October 10.
Unlike the first season last year, this season is considered a mega success, going by the response it has received across the country. Television screens beaming ICL matches are a common sight at virtually every restaurant. However, to the chagrin of ICL managers, the TRPs of the matches telecast on Zee Sports and Ten Sports have not seen a spectacular rise as expected. It is widely speculated in Indian media circles that the TRPs are manipulated at the behest of the BCCI, which has launched its own version of league matches to counter ICL.
India is yet to evolve a scientific method of measuring viewership, with advertisers and broadcasters dependent on a private organisation called Television Audience Measurement (TAM) for ratings. TAM has come under severe criticism for its lack of credibility, with stakeholders openly alleging that TRPs can often be bought.
If reports are to be believed, officers of the BCCI’s Indian Premier League (IPL) are in contact with TAM executives on a daily basis to ensure that ICL’s television ratings remain poor. There have been instances in the past where the BCCI has arm-twisted sponsors to prevent them from supporting ICL. The BCCI has also refused permission to ICL to use its stadia.
This only adds credence to speculation that TAM is hand-in-glove with BCCI. Unfortunately, in a country as large as India, media planners are dependent on TAM in the absence of an alternative.In the bitter fight between the two cricket organisations is TAM raking in the moolah?
Courtsey – Mark David,Melbourne Review,Australia’s leading weekly