People are watching less of television ever since the conditional access system (CAS) was implemented in select areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. A study by the Audience Measurement & Analytics (a-Map), a private viewership-measuring agency, says the net reach — in terms of percentage and market share — of many categories of channels has come down.
Among the exceptions are Hindi news channels and cable channels, perhaps because they are free-to-air.
The total usage — the average time spent watching TV — dropped by 14 minutes in the first week of January from what it had been in the week before CAS was implemented.
The largest loser, according to the study, has been Star Plus which has seen a drop of five minutes of usage in the first week of January. Star One lost 3.9 minutes of average viewership. English news channels, however, maintained their audience levels, while lifestyle channels like Zoom added 20 per cent to their market share, showing that niche viewing had increased in CAS areas.
In Delhi, the overall drop in viewership at the peak of prime time (8 to 10 p.m.) was close to 12 per cent in the first week of the CAS regime. Hindi movie channels lost viewership across the day. Cable channels were the biggest gainers.
In Mumbai, viewing dropped during evening prime time. Movie channels were the biggest losers, both in the afternoon and the evening prime-time period.
Television in Kolkata suffered the largest loss of viewership since the off-take of set-top boxes has been slowest in that city. Mass entertainment and news channels lost 25 per cent viewers during afternoon prime time and 39 per cent during evening prime time.