New Delhi: Around 210 million households in India now own a TV set, an increase of 6.9% from 197 million in 2018, according to latest estimates by TV monitoring agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India.

The number of TV viewers also increased 6.7%, reaching 892 million from 836 million in 2018. The number of women owning a TV set grew by 7%, while the rise was 6% among men. In terms of age groups, the highest growth was witnessed in the children’s category (age 2 to 14) at 9%.

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These are findings from the ‘TV Universe Estimates 2020’ (TV UEs) brought out by BARC India along with the BARC Technical Committee (TechComm). TV UE 2020 has been developed by computing the linear growth of TV households and individuals from Broadcast India (BI) Studies conducted in 2016 and 2018 at geographic and demographic levels. BARC India is updating the TV Universe Estimates and, viewership data reported mid-April onwards, will be based on the revised estimates, it said in a statement.

Ownership of TV sets in rural India outpaced that in urban India, with households in latter markets growing by 4% from 87.8 million in 2018 to 91 million. TV ownership in rural areas grew by 9%, up from 108.9 million to 119.2 million in 2020. While TV households across India grew by 6.9%, Hindi-speaking markets grew by 8% outpacing all India as well as the southern states which grew by 5%. States like Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, and Odisha have seen double digit growth in TV households.

“We have been able to ascertain that television continues to be the screen of choice for Indians. With an additional 13 million TV households and an opportunity for another 90 million households that are yet to own a TV set, India’s broadcast ecosystem continues to have a significant potential for growth in the years to come,” Sunil Lulla, chief executive officer, BARC India, said in a statement.

As the Indian population continues to move up the socio-economic pyramid, changes are also observed in the NCCS (or socio-economic) profile of TV households. As per the TV UE-2020, the proportion of NCCS A and B or those belonging to highest socio-economic strata has increased to 27% and 31% respectively while NCCS DE (those belonging to lower strata) has further contracted to 9% of TV households in the country.

Composition of Mode of Signal Reception (MOSR) in the country has also changed over this period. The share of DD Free Dish has increased to 19% from 13% in 2018, and the share of Cable TV has decreased to 48% from 63%. Paid DTH (direct-to-home) services account for 32% of all distribution.

The increase in TV population has resulted in an overall growth in TV viewership. In line with the pattern of regional growth of the population, TV viewership has grown more in states Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and Odisha. Similarly, TV viewership of upper NCCS (A and B) has increased due to increase in population while lower NCCS profile (NCCS CDE) has seen a drop of around 12% at an all-India level.

When comparing the viewership with old UEs, genres operating at the national and Hindi-speaking market level have shown higher growth with a few such as Hindi news, sports, English movies and devotional/spiritual, showing double-digit growth.

“The updated Universe Estimates, UE 2020 sums up India’s linear TV ecosystem and highlights that TV owning households continue to grow. Given the global pandemic scenario, the updated estimate is robust and is developed with the help of data and findings from various previously validated field studies,” Dr. Derrick Gray, chief of measurement science and business analytics, BARC India said in a statement.

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