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Infotainment prospers as TV viewers show clear preference over English Movies & GEC

According to BARC ratings, Infotainment channels reach twice the number of audiences, with lesser number of channels, than English Movies & GEC channels put together.

The television consumption behaviour in India is going through a perceptible shift with Infotainment emerging as the preferred choice of entertainment for viewers vis-a-vis English Movie & GEC channels. According to a BARC report, infotainment channels such as Discovery and Animal Planet reach more than twice the number of audiences, with lesser number of channels, than English Movie & GEC channels such as Star Movies, Movies Now, Sony Pix among others, put together.(fig.1)

Fig 1. Source - BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21
Fig 1. Source - BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21

Amongst these, the two biggest channels that lead the way in terms of reach are Discovery & Animal Planet, creating this massive difference. (fig.2)

Fig 2 Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21
Fig 2 Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21

Infotainment genre not just has higher reach amongst English channels, but also much higher overall viewership. For instance, Discovery's English Portfolio has the largest viewership share, even bigger than English Movie & GEC channels of leading broadcasters such as Star and Zee, all put together (fig.3).Extrapolation of this data to the wider industry suggests that the infotainment genre is capturing and retaining eyeballs at a much faster rate amongst the English-speaking audience

Fig 3 (Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21)
Fig 3 (Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21)

Over the past few years, the Infotainment genre has grown beyond the realm of documentaries and has started to explore multiple-formats in storytelling, identified diverse topics for content and increased experimentation, leading to exclusive viewers that do not overlap with English Movies & GECs. A case in point being the Discovery network which has close to 79% exclusive viewer base that flocks over to its channels primarily for its original content without showing any consumption of generic English entertainment (fig4)

Fig 4 (Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Week 23 to Week 26 2021)
Fig 4 (Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Week 23 to Week 26 2021)

Premieres of major Hollywood releases is a big pull for the English Movies genre. However, Discovery channel also consistently outpaces the premiere movie launches on channels like Star Movies in terms of audience reach with substantial margins (fig 5). This includes popular movies like Avengers Infinity War or Deadpool 2.

Fig 5 (Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21)
Fig 5 (Source: BARC, TG: AB 15+, Market: India Urban & Period: Jan-Jun’21)

All titles mentioned above are top-performing premieres with the English Movies genre of channels

It is evident that the infotainment genre on TV commands a larger and more exclusive viewership in comparison to others like English GECs & English Movies. With the fast-evolving streaming milieu, Infotainment channels, unlike others, stand firmly on the changing landscape of the industry as they continue to serve their viewers with a differentiated content proposition.