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Real India Still Lives On Television

Both the mediums will happily coexist but when it comes to family viewing experience; television remains the first screen of choice

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Few years back a phenomenon called over-the-top (OTT) hit the Indian entertainment industry. Internet and data got cheaper, smartphones became more accessible to millions of Indian users thereby increase in web traffic and online content being consumed anywhere anytime. 

Having said that, OTT has been able to penetrate only to a small percentage of the total population. It is still a very metro phenomenon; and television continues to be the main source of entertainment for the larger set of audiences across the country. According to the recent report of BARC, the number of households that own television sets is increasing approximately by 7.5% to 197 million in 2018.  The number of viewers also rose by 7.2% to 836 million. It’s way higher in comparison to the subscribers of the total paid OTT video streaming platforms in India which even by 2023 is projected to be around 40 – 50 million.

As of today, television is in a much bigger space looking at penetration of close to 66% of Indian homes, which is a massive number given the complexities of India. India is the second largest subscription television market in the Asia Pacific Region in terms of number of subscribers. Historically, TV has been on an upward trend in India over the years. From the days of only one channel, we are now a country of more than 800 channels today. 

The TV is often called an Idiot Box. Little do people know the real value it brings to the lives of numerous Indians. Be it our men in blue at the crease, the latest Hindi blockbuster or the newest soap ruling the ratings charts, the Indian family loves to watch films, sports and soaps as one. Appointment viewing becomes very important whether in a nuclear or joint family set up because it is the time when the family gathers together as a tradition around the TV. Since India is still not an individualistic society, TV is also one of the biggest source of collective entertainment which either families or communities watch in small towns of India. So while OTT will continue to grow and find its niche set of audiences, as of now in the immediate future, television will continue to have its hold over India.

Interestingly, 98% of India is still ruled by single-TV homes. Hence, television viewing in India still follows community pattern. Movies that are a complete family entertainer are primarily watched on television as it appeals to the entire family and can be watched without any discomfort. We love laughing, crying and celebrating together! The weekly total TV viewership stands at 32.7 billion impressions in which 12 billion impressions are contributed by Hindi GECs and movies, 44% of it comes from Hindi feature film genre alone.

Nevertheless, both the mediums will happily coexist but when it comes to family viewing experience; television remains the first screen of choice. There are certain properties that will never lose the status of community viewing. For instance, a classic family entertainer like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chasmah to a cricket World cup or a blockbuster on a movie channel. They are meant to be watched together with your friends and family. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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OTT video providers television viewership

Neeraj Vyas

The author is Business Head, MAX cluster of channels and Channel SAB

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