Olympics gain traction in India

Closing-ceremony ratings beat cricket numbers

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NEW DELHI -- With India creating history at the Beijing Olympics by winning its first-ever individual gold along with two bronze medals, pubcaster Doordarshan's closing-ceremony telecast was watched by about 30 million viewers across India's 70 million cable TV homes.

The closing ceremony surpassed even the summer's major domestic sporting event, the Indian Premier League cricket finals, which attracted 24 million viewers on Sony Entertainment Television's Set Max channel, ratings agency aMap said Tuesday.

Given cricket's massive popularity here, the Olympics ratings are noteworthy. Last year's T20 World Cup cricket final in South Africa between India and Pakistan was watched by 26 million viewers.

While the opening ceremony was watched by only 18 million viewers, interest in the Olympics was galvanized as Abhinav Bindra bagged a surprise gold in the 10-meter men's air rifle event.

Doordarshan has not yet revealed how much advertising revenue it garnered for the Games, which were exclusively telecast on DD Sports.

For 10-second ad spots, the statecaster charged $250 (10,000 rupees) during the Games and $625 for the opening and closing ceremonies. Major advertisers included Samsung Mobile, which also ran a multimedia campaign congratulating Bindra on his win.