The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Calcutta captures couch cup

Mumbai, April 4: India might be the runners-up, but Calcutta was absolutely the top of the pops this World Cup.

The city did a smashing job remaining glued to their television sets, leaving all other metros way behind in terms of viewership. It jeered the most, cheered the most — and gawked the most too.

Unlike India’s, Calcutta’s performance peaked on the day of the final, though the city played well throughout.

According to the figures released by television rating agency TAM, captain Sourav Ganguly’s home city notched up a TRP rating of 39.2 during the India-Australia final match — about 30 points ahead of any self-respecting saas-bahu serial.

Hyderabad came a distant second with 30 and Mumbai came next with 25.5, followed by Bangalore (22.4) and Chennai at 20.4, with Delhi scoring the lowest with its matter-of-factness —17.5.

“The peak half-hour ratings during the finals touched a high of 47.3 in Calcutta, which is record in Indian television history,” says Sony’s Rajat Jain, executive vice-president and business head, MAX. “Only Mahabharata’s viewership can give these figures competition, but then there were only two channels.”

TRPs are calculated on the basis of viewer number combined with viewing time. But as for the number of viewers alone, too, Calcutta has nothing to hide.

TAM gives official evidence that life stopped during the final. About 3.9 million individuals — which is 83 per cent of the 4.7 million people having access to cable and satellite television in the city (C&S universe in Calcutta) — watched the match. Of that, 2.1 million were men and 1.8 million women.

About 3.2 million individuals, which is 68 per cent of the Calcutta universe, watched the India-Pakistan match. Of that 1.7 million were men and 1.5 million women. Unlike the final, the India-Pakistan match was on a Saturday, a working day for many. But TRPs unfortunately don’t calculate work hours lost.

“Calcutta has always scored the highest during sporting events, but its performance at the World Cup was unprecedented,” says Jain.

Sony is grateful to the city, as its viewership has played its role in the tremendous brand recall for sponsors achieved during the tournament.

During the World Cup, too, Calcutta gave evidence that it likes sport of any sort. It also headed the TRP list for Extraaa Innings (read Mandira Bedi).

During the tense rain break at the final, Calcutta got a TRP of 30.7 as compared to Hyderabad’s 30. Otherwise, too, Extraaa had loyal support from Calcuttans, the ratings hovering around 10 for all the breaks when Mandira and her ilk held forth.

Other cities did not have as much patience for her, with the TRPs varying from 6 to 9 for Extraa sessions, with Delhi scoring the least again (3.3, for the pre-match “analysis”).

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