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IDOS 2017: Television is growing and will continue to do so, says BARC's Partho Dasgupta

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NEW DELHI: Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India CEO Partho Dasgupta sounded a positive note at Indiantelevision.com’s 13th Indian Digital Operators Summit (IDOS 2017) in New Delhi’s The Lalit on 28 September 2017. Dasgupta stated that the video distribution ecosystem will have place for all types of DPOs – DTH, cable TV, OTT, terrestrial, free to air and even FTTH.

“India’s cable TV operators have been pretty resilient over the years,” said he. “There is a lot potential for them to distribute video in India. TV has till now reached around 64 per cent of the Indian households. Thirty-six per cent is still left. A 100 million households are still not connected with TV. Even if 50 million more were to get connected, that’s a lot of potential for everyone. Multiple players and multiple digital formats will exist,” he said.

He explained that India is one of the few countries where around 40 (television) channels are being added (as per MIB permissions) every year. “The launches are happening because there is potential in the market,” he said.

He pointed out that TV viewership is seeing growth like never before. “It spurted by 25 per cent to 27.0 billion impressions in 2017, from 22.4 billion impressions in 2016,” he stated. “Even the daily average time spent (ATS) has grown by 16 per cent from three hours seven minutes in week 41 2015 to three hours thirty-seven minutes in week 36, 2017.”

Dasgupta exclaimed that Doordarshan’s FreeDish is emerging as a potent force. “Free TV with 80 channels is being watched in rural areas. For them, the fact that some of the programmes are repeats does not matter because viewers are watching them for the first time.”

He highlighted that there is a lot of excitement around flat TVs, HD TV, 4K TV, but the reality in the Indian marketplace is that 86 per cent of TVs are CRT (cathode ray tube) sets. “There is movement upwards expected in this area too,” he added.

Dasgupta was of the view that the new millenials are watching some TV but they are also consuming video on their handheld devices. “However, OTT has some way to go because of bandwidth issues in India,” he pointed out. “Though the situation could change soon with dropping bandwidth prices and quality. And, we are getting ready with our measurement of multiscreen viewing which will include handheld devices.”

He stated that future of television looks healthy, as almost every genre is showing growth in terms of viewership. “GEC has expanded 12 per cent since the beginning of the year,” he elaborated. “News and movies have also grown. Hindi movies grew by 60 per cent in 2017 over week 41 of 2015; Hindi news by a whopping 93 per cent in 2017 over week 41 of 2015.”

For TV industry professionals, that should surely come as good news.

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