Television

Urbanites spend less time in front of telly - NRS 2002

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The good news first. The National Readership Survey 2002 (NRS) for the year just out, spells cheer for those with an eye on the couch potatoes - access to C&S homes has jumped from 29 million homes in 1999 to 40 million homes in 2002 - a sprightly 31 per cent growth, more than twice the growth of the TV market.

Ironically, and sadly for those with their finger on the pulse of the TV watching populace, there has been a decline in time spent in front of the telly by urban audiences. Despite growing programme options, average viewing time has come down from 85 minutes in 1999 to 82 minutes per day in 2002. TAM, which supports NRS studies from this year, (along with IMRB and TNS Mode) confirm the suspicion - TAM data points to viewership time of two hours and 20 minutes in 1999 having slipped to two hours and ten minutes in 2002.

According to the National Readership Studies Council (NRSC), the health of the television industry otherwise shows brisk growth - homes with colour TV have increased from 19.4 m in 1999 to 27.8 m in 2002, while C&S subscription has now penetrated 50 per cent of all TV homes. TV of course continues to command a 72 per cent share of the average 13 hours spent on traditional media among urban audiences. The data, culled from a sample size of 213,000 respondents, across the country shows that Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat dominate markets with a high reach of TV (over 42 per cent) and also high penetration of C&S (49 per cent of all TV homes).

More statistics for those with a yen for figures - 

Of the 192 million (urban and rural) households with access to television, 42 per cent homes boast of at least one TV set. While urban TV penetration is high at 76 per cent of the population (42 million homes), in rural areas it is at 29 per cent of the population, but still a whopping 39 million homes.

Total TV viewership this year has been placed at 383 million, with C&S accounting for 139 million. Both Maharashtra and Punjab rank high in TV reach , but low in C&S penetration. The highest rate of growth in reach (16 Per cent) has however been noted in Punjab as well as in the north eastern states.

An interesting observation of the NRS 2002 is that the growing C&S reach is taking a toll on magazine readership in the country.

However, the urban reader still spends about 16 per cent of this total media time, ie 18 minutes per day reading a daily or a magazine. Internet reach now exceeds six million, but offices are no longer the main place of access. 43 per cent users use a cyber caf, while over 20 per cent surf from home, the survey says.

Radio currently reaches 28 per cent of the adult population, and even notes a slight decline in listenership. The share of FM has however increased in a stagnant urban market - 31 per cent or 15 million now tune on to any FM station - an increase of six per cent since 2001. 

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