BARC India to roll out rural data; calamities on news most watched

MUMBAI: Even as the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India is planning to roll out its rural India data, it has been noted that natural calamities, sudden deaths and political outrage remains the most watched content on news channels in India. A recent analysis of BARC India found Nepal earthquake as the first topic to boost news channels’ ratings since its inception.

Between week 16 to 20, the coverage of first earthquake in Nepal reached over 800 (000s Sum) and gradually declined to over 500 (000s Sum). During the same period, the Salman Khan trial saga was on. The day he was sent to jail saw news channels garnering over 600 (000s Sum), his bail day was not far behind as the coverage helped news channels garner over 500 (000s Sum). The coverage of the second earthquake in Nepal observed close to 700 (000s Sum).

Those numbers seemed to be innocuous when the ratings of Missile man Abdul Kalam’s last rite coverage came out. The sudden demise of the former president forced every Indian to tune in to news channels. Yakub Memom’s hanging also took place at the same time, whereas the Gurdaspur terror attack took place just before that. All these incidents resulted in high viewership on news channels, the number went up to as high as 3000 (000s Sum) in All India 1 lakh + market.

The analysis also proves Times Now’s reliance on its editor-in-chief and news president Arnab Goswami. His three days of leave resulted in a 60+ per cent decline in the channel's ratings. What's more, during that period other channels successfully managed to up their ratings too. 

On the other hand, currently the number one channel in General Entertainment Channels (GEC) category - Colors also faced a major setback after funny man Kapil Sharma’s departure. While the channel lost one in three eyeballs, it strategically uplifted the scenario and is currently in the numero uno spot.

The line between India and Bharat is blurring with time as brands are no longer satisfied with urban figures and hence rural numbers are gaining importance. 

Based on this insight, BARC is also considering the roll out of its rural data soon. 

The rural analysis done so far shows:          

· Consumer durables are growing at 25 per cent CAGR while All India is 17 per cent.

· Tele Density is 50 per cent while all India is 76 per cent.

· More than 80 per cent of the FMCG products posted faster than in Urban.

· FMCG consumption grew at 12.5 per cent during 2013 – 14. All India accounts for 50 per cent of rural spending.

· Rural markets are found to be bigger in many categories.

· 36 per cent of mobile app users are from Rural India.

· Rural India shows 75 per cent growth when it comes to TV households, while Urban growth rate is 20 per cent.

· Rural India is estimated to have 75 million TV owning households.

· 30 minutes gross impressions goes up 2.5 times with the inclusion of Rural India.

· Average reach goes up by three times with the inclusion of Rural.

From marketing strategy to prime time shift, after BARC India starts rolling out rural data there can be many a paradigm shifts. Also it remains to be seen if broadcasters rope in content to make a mark in Rural India's minds.

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