Literacy, electricity, region and temperature drive the TV viewership in India: BARC Report

Terrestrial was the only form of distribution till the mid-90s. With the impetus of digitization, this is nearly extinct. The number of channels has grown from 130+ in 2005 to 800+ channels in 2018.

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Mar 8, 2018 8:56 AM Updated: Mar 8, 2018 8:56 AM

If we talk about TV landscapes over the years, the growth in TV penetration has been tremendous, from 83 million households in 2004 to 183 million households in 2017. Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India's new report on the 'The changing face of TV in India' reveals some interesting facts about the viewership habits and trends that have emerged from these new households.

Terrestrial was the only form of distribution till the mid-90s. With the impetus of digitization, this is nearly extinct. The number of channels has grown from 130+ in 2005 to 800+ channels in 2018.

TV Universe size in rural India is 99 million HHs, which is 17 per cent higher than urban India and rural is only 52 per cent penetrated so far.

According to the BARC report, viewers in south India spend higher time on TV than viewers in the Hindi speaking market. Total daily tune-ins on TV is 566 million out of which 375 million impressions come from HSM and 191 million comes from the south. Also contrary to popular perception, viewership is the highest amongst youth (15-30 years.)

There is an interplay of several factors which influence TV viewership in India which includes distribution, digitization, rural market, migration and many other factors. In distribution, the number of channels available to viewers has increased manifold and FTA has played a big role in that. From 162 channels in 2015 to 282 channels in 2017, the sector has seen a 74 per cent growth in FTA market. Among the pay channels, the number grew from 210 to 240 channels in 2017 which is 14 per cent only. The share of viewership for FTA vs Pay channels was 23 per cent vs 77 per cent in 2015 and it has grown to 31 per cent vs 69 per cent in 2017.

Moving on to the availability of content, Hindi Language growth is under-indexed to Total TV growth while Regional genre growth is significantly over-indexed. While the Hindi language remains a behemoth, regional content has seen huge growth. Regional languages were led by Gujarati and Assamese which have seen a massive growth in viewership in 2017 compared to 2016.

In the sports genre, while cricket still remains the most popular sport watched on TV, local sport Kabaddi is fast gaining share. In the share of sports viewership in 2017, cricket led the space with 69 per cent viewership whereas Kabaddi is the second highest with 15 per cent share. The remaining 10 per cent is equally shared by wrestling and soccer.

One of the key factors of growth in TV viewership is improving electricity connection that is contributing to higher TV viewing. Also, the time of year impacts the viewership as well. As temperature rise, primetime viewership drop. Total TV viewing increases in south India during festival holidays, while in HSM it remains stable. Total TV viewing increases in both HSM and south during public holidays.

Co-relation between TV viewing and literacy is quite high. It is observed that viewers in states with higher literacy watch more TV. As per the report, women make a significant contribution to News genre viewership (~44 per cent.)

Also, the evening Prime Time contributes to over 30 per cent for Hindi, English and Regional News. However, Morning Time contributes the maximum to News in AP and Tamil Nadu.

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