Top mass entertainment channels such as Star Plus, Sony and Zee may not be hot favourites in Chennai, unlike in other cities, but that doesn't mean the city's appetite for television is weak. In fact, it's much stronger than other metros.
Every week, a typical Chennaiite spends 19.3 hours watching TV — at least three hours more than his or her counterparts in other metros.
The comparable averages for Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi are 16.1, 15.7 and 15 hours (in that order), according to a report by TAM, which tracks viewership trends.
More time is good news for advertisers, says Mr Atul Phadnis, Vice-President, TAM India. There's more good news, this time for media planners. He says the city's viewership pattern makes for easy media planning, as there isn't much fragmentation. Regional channels account for nearly 90 per cent of prime-time viewership (which only dips to 63 per cent late night), and two to three players dominate this space. For instance, Sun TV and its associate channel, KTV, together have a 70 per cent share in viewership.
So, here's a case of an evolved cable & satellite market where lots of people watch more TV per capita than the national average, and that too with great intensity — the market couldn't have been simpler for media planners, Mr Phadnis adds.
By contrast, the rest of the metros have a viewership break-up that's more evenly spread among the different genres. In Mumbai, for instance, genres such as English entertainment, English movies, English news, Hindi movies, Hindi news, mass entertainment in Hindi, music, regional, sports, kids and others account for the 90 per cent of prime-time viewership — that share is provided by just the regional entertainment channels in Chennai.
In Mumbai, Marathi channels are no match for the popular Hindi ones. They are able to garner only about 14 per cent of viewership during prime-time; the Hindi mass entertainment channels manage 46 per cent.
Delhi's prime-time viewership of regional channels is a mere two per cent but then `regional' in Delhi means the likes of Punjabi channels. The share of Hindi channels for the same day-part is 51 per cent.
Thrity-seven per cent of prime-time viewership in Kolkata is for Bengali channels but Hindi is a close second at 28 per cent.
For the same time zone, the viewership of Hindi and English news is highest in Delhi (both combined at 7 per cent), followed by Mumbai at 4 per cent and Kolkata at 2 per cent. Chennai's figure is zero.