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The curious case of nosediving TV ad revenue even as the show goes on

India's overall TV ecosystem has seen a fall in advertising volume by more than 20% in the lockdown period but revenue has shrunk more than 70%. All of this is happening when TV viewership has touched a record high. BestMediaInfo.com analyses genre-wise revenue and volume fall for India's broadcasting industry

Even as the total advertising volume on television dropped by 27% in Week 17 (April 25-May 1) to 205 lakh seconds from an average of 281 lakh seconds every week in the pre-Covid period during Week 2-4 (January 11-31, 2020), advertising revenue witnessed a steep fall to the tune of 70-80%, many senior executives in the media and entertainment industry told BestMediaInfo.com.

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On why the advertising revenue drop was not in tune with the fall in volume, a media agency head explained that advertisers were asking for discounts/bonuses even on existing deals. “With the new financial year beginning April, most advertisers are showing reluctance to renew their deals as their businesses are shut. Whoever is advertising their essential product range or do not want to stop their advertising for even non-essential items, is exploiting the excess supply of inventories,” he said.

According to BARC India’s latest data for Week 17, the general entertainment genre witnessed a drop of 36% in advertising volume over the pre-Covid period. The drop in advertising volume in Hindi GECs is 24%. But the absence of fresh content resulted in a huge loss of viewership and advertising revenues for the top pay GECs. According to sources, the revenues of top pay GECs dropped by about 80% in the month of April.

The movie genre story is exactly similar to GECs, except for the viewership. The drop in FCT for the movie genre is 35% and the revenues are down by 70% in comparison to the pre-Covid period. It is interesting to note that the viewership of movie channels has gone up by 51% in Week 17 over the pre-Covid period.

Round-the-clock coverage generating a high-level of engagement has helped the news genre to hold the fort to some extent. Viewership growth of the news genre has settled at 166%,

The drop in FCT in the news genre across languages is 6% in Week 17 over the pre-Covid period. The current week witnessed 78 lakh seconds of advertising on news channels as compared to 83 lakh seconds in the week before the coronavirus outbreak.

A week before, the genre recorded a 2% growth in Week 16 over the Week 2-4.

Advertising volume in the Hindi news genre grew by 19% to 38 lakh seconds in Week 16 over 32 lakh seconds in the pre-Covid period.

National Hindi news channels had a total FCT of 12.7 lakh in Week 16.

However, industry observers as well as top executives in leading news channels pegged the drop in advertising revenue to the tune of 50% for the genre.

“If we look at the entire news genre, the impact on advertising revenue is in the range of 50-55%. But the top four or five news channels in the Hindi news genre and top three in the English news genre have lost about 40% advertising revenues in April. For the tail-end channels, the revenue drop could be 80% or even more,” an analyst told BestMediaInfo.com.

India's TV Industry was predicted to have an adex of Rs 25,000 crore in 2020. Now the experts are hoping that even if the industry clocks the same revenue as in 2019, it would be good news.


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