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Television's reach dropped by 5% after TRAI's New Tariff Order: BARC India report

Audience measurement body, BARC India released its yearbook titled 'What India Watched' which shares insights on television consumption patterns.

Television viewership measurement body, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released its yearbook. Titled - 'What India Watched' the yearbook sheds light on the television viewership pattern observed in 2019. The report finds that television is the screen that Indian households engage with daily with "co-viewing accounting for how 80 per cent of content is watched."

As per BARC India's report, viewership has grown 38 per cent over the last four years and a total of 48.4 trillion viewing minutes were consumed on television in 2019. The report states that each household watches 5 hours, 11 minutes of television every day and as many as 222 million individuals tune in to prime time television at any given minute.

Sunil Lulla
Sunil Lulla

2019 was an eventful year for Indians to stay glued to the television. From the general elections to the Lok Sabha to the Indian Premier League (IPL) to ICC Cricket World Cup... all took place in 2019. The report notes that there were significant spikes in viewership of News and Movies in Southern languages. A highlight of 2019 according to Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India was the growth of Sports coverage in regional languages. "Overall Assam and the rest of North East, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and Tamil Nadu led the surge," states Lulla.

The report finds that the ad FCT at 1.6 billion seconds fell by 3.6 per cent over 2018. The share of the top 10 advertisers grew by 3.8 per cent. "With over 100 million homes in India yet to get a TV set, growth continues to be ahead of us," opines Lulla.

While there were mega-events in 2019 there was a big change in the regulatory framework too. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had rolled out the New Tariff Order which came into full effect in February 2019. The NTO mandated subscribers to subscribe to the channels of their choice instead of the operators bundling it for them. The broadcasters had to flex their muscle to ensure that the consumers subscribe to their bouquet of channels.

However, as per the BARC India report, one trend that emerged post the NTO was a drop in the percentage of households that watched 30 channels or more on an average per week, while the share of homes that watched 20 channels or less increased.

Drop in the number of channels watched per household post NTO
Drop in the number of channels watched per household post NTO

At the Universe (Total TV) level, the average daily reach (number of people who sample TV daily) dropped around 5 per cent over the year. The time spent, however, after a small dip during the transition period climbed back and stabilised.

Daily TV tune-ins dropped post NTO
Daily TV tune-ins dropped post NTO

Here is the full report:

What India Watched 2019.pdfDownload