Sony's Set Max top-rated on Indian cricket

39 mil Indian cable households watched finals

NEW DELHI -- More than half of India's estimated 70 million cable households watched the June 1 cricket finals of the Indian Premier League on Sony Entertainment Television's Set Max channel, data released Friday showed.

Mumbai-based Television Audience Measurement Media said that 39 million cable households in India watched the event -- the conclusion of the first season of a 10-year rights contract Sony bought in January with Singapore-based marketing and management agency World Sport Group in January for about $1.03 billion.

The purchase of the IPL broadcast rights from the Board for Control of Cricket in India is considered one of the highest sums ever paid for cricket on TV.

TAM data showed that the final match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royalsheld in Mumbai garnered a 9.8 rating, catapulting Set Max to the top spot with a 45% market share among all channels.

TAM Media -- a joint venture between A.C. Nielsen and Kantar Media Research/IMRB -- monitors six cities with viewer meters installed in 7,000 sample households.

While SET did not release advertising revenue figures, industry estimates indicate that over the 44-day season, a 10-second commercial was sold for between $12,500-$25,000, sums considered almost double the regular rate for general programming.

The debut season of the IPL league saw eight franchised teams auctioned by organizers BCCI for $720 million to team owners including Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and actress Preity Zinta.

A recent report by Mumbai-based Alchemy Shares and Stock Brokers said that the BCCI is projected to record a profit of $87.5 million from IPL's first season.