With India virtually out of the Cricket World Cup, statistics prior to yesterday’s match against Sri Lanka have proved that the soaps are still ruling Indian television. The ongoing World Cup has had minimal impact on viewership of prime-time soap operas on television.

Blame it on the Indian team۪s far from satisfactory performance in the ongoing World Cup saga, the stickiness of weepy saas-bahu serials or what you will, clearly the men-in-blue have their task cut out.

Television monitoring agency TAM India۪s television rating (TVR) for week ending 17th March shows Hindi General Entertainment channels (GEC) holding on to their viewers, compared to TVRs for the preceding, non-World Cup week.

STAR Plus۪ marquee ‘K’ serials, ‘Kyunki…’ and ‘Kahani…’ have tackled the cricket googly pretty well, so far. While ‘Kahani…’ has seen a minuscule drop of 0.15 TVRs (from 7.82 pre-WC week to 7.67 for week ending March 17), ‘Kyunki…’ surprisingly has gained viewership (7.74 to 7.96) amongst 4 years plus in cable & satellite households in Hindi speaking markets.

ZEE TV’s ‘Saat Phere’ (1.6 to 1.59) and ‘Kasamh Se’ (3.66 to 3.61) are stable, and ‘Betiyaan…’ has in fact gained new viewers (3.24 to 4.04).

Surprisingly, STAR Plus۪ tactical programme to take on the World Cup on competing with Sony TV, Shah Rukh Khan-anchored ‘KBC 3’, have seen a substantial viewership erosion (7.01 to 5.53) due to the World Cup.

“The reason for ‘KBC’ getting impacted more than the prime time serials could be because viewers can always come back to ‘KBC’ but followers of serials usually have more stickiness,” says Lodestar Universal CEO Shashi Sinha.

While STAR attributes this slide in ‘KBC’ ratings to an extent on cricket, the ongoing exam season is also having a rub-off on the overall viewership numbers of ‘KBC’ according to STAR TV president, advertising sales & distribution, Paritosh Joshi.

“The drop in ratings seems to coincide with the Cricket World Cup since there is a huge male orientation to ‘KBC’ which could have slipped off to cricket,” adds Joshi. Perhaps the only consolation for STAR here is that even Sony, the host broadcaster for the World Cup, too has lost out, with most prime-time programmes on the Sony GEC showing drop in TVRsboth Boogie Woogie and CID down, 0.91 (from 2.10) and 2.07 (from 2.35) respectively.

The first week ratings of the World Cup matches however, have otherwise been positive with the opening match between West-Indies and Pakistan garnering a 6 TVR compared to an 8.2 for the last World Cup opener (South Africa versus West Indies in 2003). The India-Bangladesh match did a 10 TVR.

Even the non-India playing matches, such as an Australia-Scotland encounter has done an average of 2.5 TVR. “More than a couple of non-India playing matches have registered more than 2 TVR which is a good sign. Although, the ratings on SAB TV have not been encouraging,” says Mindshare MD Sundar Raman.