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South n North: The channel divide

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South n North: The channel divide

Target 15-24, males and females. SEC ABC. The audience quite a few product categories want to talk to — be it cell phones or cosmetic brands, a new bike on the roads or a new jeans. Colas or chocolates, shampoos or watches. Interestingly, in contrast to the global trends where the 15-24 year olds are weaning away from television, Indian marketers and media planners don’t need to worry on that pretext. TAM Media Research data for the last six months — week 24 to week 51 — indicates that television viewership in this segment is robust and growing.

Let us now look at how two of India’s broad markets: Hindi speaking markets (HSM) and South markets (SM) behave as far as TV viewing habits of 15-24 year olds are concerned. Weeks under consideration are week 24 to week 51.

To begin with, a look at the South markets.

TVR for ‘any channel’ has increased from 10.48 (week 24) to 11.17 (week 51) and the average TVR for the duration is 11.22. If we look at males in the same market: TVR for ‘any channel’ has increased from 9.18 to 10.31 with the average being 10.41. And if we look at females, TVR has grown from 11.95 to 12.14, the average being 12.12.

Let us now see the TV viewership pattern of this TG in the Hindi speaking markets.

For ‘any channel’ it has moved up from 9.29 to 10.07 with average for the duration being 9.7. For men, it has moved from 9.06 to 9.71, and the average TVR for the duration was 9.36. For female audience, it has grown from 9.57 to 10.53. The average here was 10.12.

Interesting thing here is that though these TVRs show a similar trend in both Hindi speaking and South markets, Average TVR for all the target groups is much higher in South markets, more so in the case of 15-24 year old females. And indeed, there is quite an increase in the 15–24 male viewership in South.

The next consideration is whether the genre preference in both the markets is similar or different. Mass entertainment channels rule the roost in Hindi speaking markets with 34.3% channel share. In South markets, mass entertainment channels are even more ahead of other genres. South mass channels have a 61.18% share in that market, add to this 4.72% share for Hindi mass entertainment and the numbers start looking even more awesome. This can, largely be attributed to the fact that channel fragmentation per every South language is not too high.

Regional cable in Hindi speaking markets is at number two with 16.32% share (6.85% in South), Hindi film channels have a 14.47% channel share in HSM. As for English movies, Hindi speaking markets at 1.97% are very close to South (1.96%). News performs much better in Hindi speaking markets with a share of 5.35% (1.7% in South). The reason for this might be that most mass entertainment channels in the South have news slots. Sports channels with a share of 5.6% (South – 3.42%) and music 3.59% (South 1.37%) too do better in Hindi speaking markets. As far as English entertainment channels are concerned, they again have a larger share in Hindi speaking markets – 3.72% as compared to 2.02% in the South.

Let us discriminate between the genders now. Ladies first.

Mass entertainment channels have a 41.28% share in Hindi speaking markets — whopping you say? Compare it to 63.49% share of South mass entertainment channels in the South markets and add to it 4.91% share that Hindi mass entertainment channels command in SM, and you might not find it all that overwhelming.

And if you thought it was mostly men watching cable TV with those done-to-death movies, you are wrong. Next to mass entertainment is cable television with 15.87% share in HSM (6.1% in South). As for Hindi movies, the gap between the two markets is as anticipated – 13.4% in Hindi speaking markets vis-à-vis 2.61% in SM. Women in Hindi speaking markets watch more news too – 4.07%, as compared to 1.54% in the South. Perhaps a contradiction to the general belief is sports channels, where in Hindi speaking markets their share is 3.49% as compared to 1.99% in South. 15-24 year old females in HSM even watch more music channels – 3.14% (1.23% in South) and more English channels – 2.91% (1.92% in South).

Men now. A look at the share of mass entertainment channels reveals the difference in viewing preferences of young men in the South and HSM. In Hindi speaking markets, mass entertainment channels have a share of 28.24, while the share of South entertainment channels in South is 58.79% (Hindi mass entertainment channels acquire an additional 4.52% share). At number two again are regional cable channels with 16.71% channel share (7.62% in South). At number three are Hindi movie channels with 15.4% channel share (3.71% in South), followed by news at 6.46% (1.17% in the South). Young men in HSM watch the English entertainment channels more than their female counterparts – 4.42% (2.13% in South). As far as sports channels are concerned, their channel share is 7.43% (4.91%). Music channels are next with 3.97% (1.52% in South), English movie channels have a 2.48% share (2.38% in South).

To sum up, in Hindi speaking markets, the share of news channels has shown a constant increase (from 4.84 to 6.68– and a rather healthy growth week 40 onwards when it reached 5.98%). Female audiences’ interest in the genre has increased as well.

In SM, there is a progressive growth in the channel share of South mass entertainment channels from 59.8 to 62.29, specially last four weeks (week 48 to 59) have been real good for South mass channels, and both men and women viewing has increased. The share of news channels has also increased in South markets – again more so in the last six weeks and both male and female audience are showing an increased interest in this genre.

Data also indicates that TV indeed is not turning into just a frequency medium — more so the mass entertainment channels. While in HSM increased channel fragmentation might have amplified the stress on media planners, the same is not the case in South.

Another point is that Hindi mass entertainment channels are not as blacked out in South as we sometimes choose to believe – they stand at third place next to just South mass entertainment and regional cable.

15–24 year olds are as glued to TV as their older versions, and perhaps in the case of males, this age group in even more tuned in than the 25+ TG. Television by appointment continues to be the name of the game for 15-24 year olds and entertainment at my time for the Indian young adult is still some time away.


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