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Many regional channels doubled viewership in four years: BARC

The BARC’s What India Watched 2019 report says news and sports drove viewership of regional channels. English language channels reported a drop in viewership while Hindi gained

Driven by sports and news, viewership of regional channels grew from 15% in 2016 to 23% in 2019, says a recent report released by the Broadcast Research Audience Council (BARC). Many regional channels also doubled their viewership share in the same period.

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The detailed report about India’s television watching patterns says viewership of the four south Indian languages has also grown. But while regional grows, viewership of English language channels has seen a decline.

BARC’s What India Watched 2019 report said the growth of regional can be attributed to the rise of sports in local languages.

Hindi language channel viewership has grown by 31% in the last four years.

There has also been an increase in television advertising volumes. The share of most regional channels ad volumes has also increased.

For the report, BARC studied 634 channels and 48.4 trillion watching minutes.

The council compiled important insights about the way Indians consumed television in 2019 that can help marketers understand audience behaviour.

News channel viewership grew by 23%

2019 was also the year of big news events that skyrocketed news channels viewership. General elections, Balakot airstrikes, Pulwama Terror attack and the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir were some of the events that soared Hindi news channel viewership.

Another interesting insight from the report revealed that regional language news channels have grown immensely. 98% of news viewership from Andhra Pradesh/ Telangana comes from the 19 Telugu channels. Similarly, 97% of news viewership from Tamil Nadu/Puducherry comes from the 14 Tamil news channels.

Kallie Purie

Commenting on the growth of news channels, Kallie Purie, Vice-Chairperson, India Today Group, said, “Indians love news, and interestingly, we have about 400 news channels in the country, which is the highest number worldwide. The Hindi news genre saw the highest growth (30%) in viewership as compared to all other national genres. We are excited to welcome the new decade of news in India and are ready for the future. As always, we believe BARC India’s contribution to the next leap in measurement science will be critical.”

Co-viewing habits aid kids’ television viewership

Television continues to be the most appealing medium for kids. 6% of the total television viewership is accounted for by kid’s television. The report says kids’ channels are not only watched by children kids but also by people around them. 39% of kids’ content is watched by 2-14-year-olds. 18% of kids’ content is watched by 31-40-year-olds. Similarly, kids watch GEC and movie channels as well. According to the report, 47% of kids watch GEC and movie channels.

Ad volume on television grew by 21%

The BARC data showed that along with viewership, ad volumes have also grown. Ad volumes on television grew by 21%. FMCG and e-commerce websites advertised heavily on television. 54% of advertising duration was consumed by the FMCG sector.

After NTO fewer channels were watched

As TRAI (Television Regulatory authority of India) rolled out the new tariff order, homes that watched more than 30 channels a week watched 20 channels on an average. However, the time spent watching TV sprung back to pre-NTO levels.

Sports viewership continues to grow    

Sports events like IPL, World Cup and Pro kabaddi significantly helped sports viewership grow in 2019. Non-cricket events like pro kabaddi, football and wrestling accounted for 85% of viewing time. However, IPL had 424 million viewers which are 51% of the total TV viewing population.  

Click here to view full report.

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