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Viewership of HD channels grew by a whopping 169% in two years: BARC

MUMBAI: There has been a phenomenal growth in the number of high definition (HD) channels and their viewership over the last two years, according to a latest BARC India study on HD channels.

While the number of HD channels increased 41% during October 2015 to September 2017, their viewership share has grown by a whopping 169%. In the same period, the SD channel viewership grew by a healthy 25% even as the number of SD channels increased by 16%.

The number of HD channels has increased from 59 in 2015 to 83 in 2017. Of the available 83 HD channels, 50 channels have both SD and HD feed. SD channel count jumped to 517 in 2017 from 445 in 2015.

According to the report ‘The HD Landscape’, the youth in 22-40 year age bracket are among the biggest consumers of HD channels with a 35% share of HD viewership.

The audience measurement body has considered a 31-week average data between week 8-38 of 2017 for the study.

In terms of consumer classification, the NCCS A category comprising the top end of the consumers are the largest contributors to HD channel viewership. HD channels and packages are generally targeted at high-end customers.

The study further highlighted that NCCS A and NCCS B are habitual viewers of HD while NCCS CDE viewers are driven to HD by key events like a big sporting event.

With youth forming a bulk of the HD viewership the sectors targeting them are one of the biggest advertisers on HD channels. The internet services and online shopping categories are leading advertisers on HD channels.

The study reveals that the top three drivers of HD content consumption are GEC, movies, and sports. These three genres have 95% share of the HD viewership. Among TV viewers in households with continuous availability to HD and SD channels, the sampling of GEC channels is the highest, followed by movies and Sports.

It further stated that GEC and sports genres deliver better engagement (ATS) on HD channels as compared to their SD counterparts. Further, their viewership is mainly driven by their core content serials for GEC channels and cricket & soccer for sports channels.

Another key trend is that there is a high language agnostic consumption of sports on HD feed.

The HD audience has a greater affinity towards HD viewing for niche and exclusive genres, primarily in the English language, the study noted.

The HD channel viewership in India is slightly skewed towards male audiences with a 51% contribution to viewership. The SD channels have an almost equal viewership of males and females.

As far as age is concerned, the TV viewership is fragmented across all age groups for both HD and SD channels.

While the Kids and Youth (2-21 years) form the larger share of the SD viewership, the Young Adults and Adults (22-40 years) together comprise a majority share of HD viewership in India (35%).

The HD channels also have an urban skew, unlike SD channels which have a higher viewership contribution from rural India. Interestingly, there are more rural households in India’s TV universe than urban.

The study also noted that the below 10L Urban towns contribute greater impressions in absolute numbers. For the period under review, the HD channel viewership is mainly driven by the GEC genre in the below 10L urban market.

The HD sports viewership also witnessed a spike around the time of the ICC Champions Trophy play. The launch of a few sports HD channels also contributed to this growth.

Genre trends

The GEC genre has the lion’s share of HD viewership at 62% followed by movies (22%) and sports (11%). The share of GEC is understandable as 31 out of 83 HD channels are from this genre.

While in most genres, the SD channels deliver a higher reach & ATS as compared to HD channels, in the case of GEC and Sports it is the reverse with the HD channels delivering a better time spend and reach.

Movie channels have the highest reach in both SD and HD while GECs have the highest time spent in HD. Among SD channels, the kids’ genre has the highest time spent. GEC, sports, and lifestyle have a higher share of impressions on HD as compared to SD channels. Conversely, news, kids & music genre performed better on SD feed.

Content themes on HD

Serials drive the consumption of content on GEC HD channels. In case of sports, Cricket and soccer are the key drivers compared to SD.

Among movie channels, both English movies and Hindi movies perform relatively much better on HD channels. When compared to SD channels, regional movie channels have a lower share of impressions on HD as compared to English and Hindi movie channels.

Deep dive of HD viewers

As noted earlier that the GEC, movie, and sports are the top three genres in terms of viewership. However, the genres with the highest share of minutes viewed on the HD feed are English GECs followed by Music.

It is interesting to note that these genres do not rank highly in the incidence of HDCA (HD Channel Audience) individuals. Both genres being interest-based and niche genres, the high share of minutes is indicative of their stickiness for these viewers.

The only genre which has both a relatively high share of HDCA individuals’ incidence as well as a high share of HD minutes is Sports.

Dissecting the genres by language, the study finds that the incidence of Hindi GEC and Hindi movies is extremely high which may also be driving the high incidence of the overall genre.

Within the sports genre, all languages have a high share of HD minutes. This, the study noted, could be indicative that there is high sports consumption on HD channels, and it is language agnostic.

The English entertainment and movie channels deliver a substantially higher share of HD minutes vis a vis lower incidence, which is completely opposite to Hindi GEC and movie channels.

The English language viewership, across GEC, Movies & Sports genres, is concentrated towards a high % share of HD minutes thereby indicating that the typical HD viewer is likely to spend more time in consuming niche English content (primarily GEC & Movies) on HD channels

Top 10 advertisers on HD

The services sector is the leading ad sector on HD channels, with the highest FCT and the largest share of views. It is primarily driven by Internet Services & Online Shopping / E-commerce categories.

F&B and Personal Care/ Personal Hygiene are among the top 3 performing sectors in terms of FCT as well as Impressions, not only on HD but on SD channels as well. These sectors seem to have competitive mass advertisers, as they are being driven by the same categories on both channels.

With respect to air-time and Impressions, the top 10 Ad sectors with highest FCT, are also the most viewed in terms of share of eyeballs. The only exception is the Personal Accessories Sector.