IPL scores with cricket ratings

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NEW DELHI -- Eighteen million Indians watched the three opening matches of the country's top cricket league during the weekend, boosting Sony Entertainment Television's SET MAX channel to the No. 1 spot, ratings agency Television Audience Measurement reported Tuesday.

Sampling an audience of 54 million people in six cities, TAM data showed that the SET MAX broadcast of Friday's opening match of the Indian Premier League -- between Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders and Bangalore home team Royal Challengers Bangalore -- drew a 29.3% market share, higher than the combined 25.5% average market share of India's top nine general entertainment channels.

IPL's first season will run for 45 days. It will see its first major challenge for the top channel spot Friday, when Star's Hindi channel Star Plus launches the Indian version of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" hosted by Shah Rukh Khan.
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