Indrani Sen: Indian TV writing its own script for growth

30 Jul,2018

By Indrani Sen


The latest Broadcast India 2018 survey by BARC indicates that like Press, TV in India is going to set another trend which will be contrary to the global trend. By 2020, people around the world will spend more time online activities than watching TV, as predicted by Zenith. In a recent article on June 8, 2018, Rani Molla shared the global forecast made by Zenith. (


BARC’s latest Broadcast India 2018 survey states that in urban areas, average time spent (ATS) per viewer is about 246 minutes, while in rural India, it is about 207 minutes with an all India average of 224 minutes. It is unlikely that in the next five years Indians will spend less time watching TV than the time spent on online activities.

As per, in 2016, Americans watched 274 minutes of TV per day, while people from India only watched 140 minutes per day. What was interesting to note that Americans spent 240 minutes watching live TV and a further 34 minutes watching time-shifted TV ( The Indian viewers have come a long way from 2016 with 60% increase in their time spent on TV over two years. As TV viewership in India is driven by family viewing and only 17% of the households are nuclear family with elders, time shifted viewing may not be a significant feature of our TV viewing habit.

According to the FICCI EY 2018 Report on Indian M&E Industry, 2017 TV ratings saw the impact of BARC’s enhanced weightage on rural panel. The same has also been reflected in the BI2018 survey with TV homes outpacing the growth of total number of homes in India. India currently has 298 million homes, of which 197 million have a TV set with 88 million located in urban and 109 million located in rural areas. While there is a scope of adding almost 100 million more TV homes to the existing 197 million TV homes, the opportunities for growth is higher in below 1 lakh towns and in rural areas.

Source: BARC Universe Update- July 2018

The BI 2016 and BI 2018 both covered 3 lakh households selected on the basis of stratified random sampling with 68% from urban and 32% from rural areas. Considering that 55% of TV homes are located in rural areas and the percentage is likely to grow further, a further correction by BARC may be required in the spread of their audience panel in order to do justice to the distribution of TV homes across population strata.

As per the press release issued by BARC , both HSM and South markets have seen a spike in viewership with HSM saw an increase of 12%, while South grew by 10% in week 29. In BI2018 survey, the overall penetration of TV stands at 66% with all the states in South India having more than 91% TV penetration. Maharashtra, Gujrat, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K follow with TV penetration of 80% to 90%. A vast land mass across the country from Rajasthan to Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and North East have more scope of growth with current TV penetration of 45% to 59%. In the Hindi hinterland, UP (30% to 45%), Bihar and Jharkhand (both below 30%) are at the bottom of the table re-emphasising the dilemma of the advertisers targeting these markets through traditional media. West Bengal with as large bouquet of regional channels as the Southern states remains an enigma with its comparatively low level of TV penetration.


On 27th July quoted Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India: “With BI 2018 we have been able to showcase the changing face of India. However, what hasn’t changed is the fact that TV remains the most effective platform for both content creators and advertisers to reach their audiences.”

The Media & Advertising Industry will agree wholeheartedly with Dasgupta and we will see dominance of TV’s share in our advertising media pie continuing in the next decade challenging some media forecasts which have predicted a shift towards digital advertising.

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