Oct-Dec strongest quarter for TV viewership, April-June weakest: BARC study

MUMBAI: The October-December quarter of the calendar year is the strongest while the April-June is the weakest for TV viewership, according to Broadcasters Audience Research Council (BARC) India’s latest study titled ‘Seasonality & TV Trends’.

The study further noted that TV viewership follows similar seasonal fluctuations year-on-year.

The October-December quarter sees a lot of special, festive programming occurs in this quarter in lieu of Diwali, Christmas, New Year which drives up the viewership.

The study noted that the viewership is seen to dip during April-June period which is peak summer holiday season. One reason for the dip in the viewership could be the increase in power cuts and load shedding in the summer.

As the holiday season ends, the viewership starts picking up in July-September. The quarter witnessed a growth of 5% in overall TV viewership from 2016 to 2017.

This, the study said, is the highest viewership growth across the four quarters, and maybe an ideal time to hook the viewers returning to television after a short hiatus, by debuting new content and programmes.

As per the study, temperature and viewership have an inverse relationship with each other.

In winters/ cold weather, people stay indoors and watch TV, but in summers/warm climate people would prefer stepping out and engaging in alternate activities for entertainment. The frequency of power cuts and load shedding is higher in the summer, which also leads to a dip in TV viewership.

With TV viewing being high in the autumn and winter months, the report stated that broadcasters can focus new show releases in the autumn/fall season while agencies can purchase network advertising packages months in advance, anticipating the pulse of viewership basis the seasonality.

Advertisers could benefit by creating a unique seasonality segmentation for their brands, it added. Furthermore, brands can also invest more in TV advertising for their campaigns that are to be scheduled in the months with typically high TV viewership.

The study also pointed out that weekly viewership spikes occur on weekends, and is primarily driven by the Movie genre. Sundays have the highest time spent (ATS) on television as compared to any other day of the week.

Viewership spikes on weekdays can be attributed mainly to festivals and public holidays, the report said. Interestingly, holidays that fall mid-week tend to see better viewership than those on long weekends.

In terms of genre behaviour, the study mentioned that most genres exhibit similar seasonal patterns except Kids genre. There is a marked increase in viewership of this genre in the summer months (April-June) due to vacations. This, it said, could be a great medium for brands to combat the general viewership drop in this quarter.

The viewership for kids genre lines up perfectly with the school vacation period across all zones, indicating a high sensitivity of Kids’ viewership during vacations.

During the telecast of big-ticket properties such as the T20 World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy, the average viewership of the Sports genre was seen to have surpassed the highest average viewership for GEC genre on a given day during the two-year period.

The music genre has a similar viewership share as that of Kids genre among the 15+ audience while the news genre is a highly event-driven and dynamic genre.

Among the five time bands, the 9 am-12 pm and 12-3 pm time band have the highest correlation. Both these time bands also exhibit an inverse relationship with both the prime time viewing bands (1800-2400 hrs).

Film based programmes and news content together account for a little over 50% of the available content in the morning and afternoon time bands. The film based programmes are being driven by feature films, while the News themes are being driven by news bulletins. Programs classified as Miscellaneous (Primarily cartoons/animation) and Serials i.e drama & soaps account for another sizeable share of over 30%.