The view from the couch

Tv watchers

How does India watch television? A lowdown
If a TV set was indeed an idiot box, the world has more idiots than sane consumers. The growing influence of new media such as internet and mobile phones and the clout of newspapers and magazines notwithstanding, television continues to rule the media landscape in most markets across the world. India is no exception.

The figures speak for themselves. Despite a much longer history, print media in India is still out of reach of more than 70 per cent of the population. Internet reaches only around six per cent media consumers across the country. Television has emerged as the most powerful medium of entertainment, education and awareness.

With inputs from Mumbai-based television audience measurement agency TAM Media Research, we present a snap-shot of TV consumption pattern in India.
It reaches more than 60 per cent of Indian households. Most interestingly, of the 134 million television households in the country, 70 million are in rural areas and 64 million in urban India. It is accessed by people cutting across demographics, geography and socio-economic background.

India is the world's second largest broadcast market both in terms of viewership base as well as the number of channels (around 500) here. And yet, broadcast is a nascent phenomenon in India. It has been around for five decades and 40 per cent of the population is outside its reach.
News as a genre has maximum number of players (81 up-and-running 24x7 channels) but that doesn't necessarily translate into a higher viewership of news and current affairschannels. General entertainment, led by soaps and serials, rules the charts followed by the recent phenomenon of reality shows. The audience for family drama, across the country, is dominated by housewives who account for as much viewership as men do but certainly spend more time on the couch.

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