TV is the clear leader in grabbing a greater share of the fast-growing ad market in Southern India, a study from TAM Media Research has revealed.

Media outlets in the region are reportedly growing at an at “exponential rate”, according to, reporting on the findings by TAM, a joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar.

The TAM report, “The Southside Story 2018”, reveals that one-third of advertisers in India are now spending in the south.

While TV was easily the biggest beneficiary, picking up some 79% of ad insertions, and FM radio also fared relatively well, with 16%, print made up a lowly 4% share.

The extraordinary growth in the number of TV channels in the last four years is, however, the big story. “The number of TV channels has increased by 45% (2014: 138 to 2018: 199),” the report noted. “Year 2018 had over 66,000+ advertisers/86,000+ brands advertising across 690+ categories in TV, print and radio.”

The biggest spending contributor to TV was the personal care sector, while the services sector led the way on FM radio, and autos took the lead in print. The ten biggest ad spenders were responsible for 25% of ad insertions across all media last year, compared to 33% between 2014 and 2017, the report said.

Researchers drilled down into details about spending by state, which showed that between 2014 and 2018, ad insertions in Andhra Pradesh, for example, were overwhelmingly dominated by TV, which captured between 70%–78% of the market. TV also led the way in Karnataka during the same period, receiving between 67% and 77% of the spend.

Meanwhile, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data reveals a big leap in viewers of TV news in the south, driven, observers say, by a combination of a strong news year, and more competition between a greater number of channels.

Weekly viewing figures for each region in the south throughout the year showed a rise of between 14% and 32%. Kannada channels saw the highest growth, followed by Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.

News makes up 7% of total viewing of South Indian regional channels, Exchange4Media reported, which makes it the third biggest category after entertainment (61%), and movies (17%).

Commenting on the rise in viewing figures in Kannada, Swaroop Murgod, Head of Production, News 18 Kannada told Exchange4Media, “Besides content, I strongly believe that both packaging and presentation played major roles in the last six months. News show strategies are now tailored according to competition.”

Sourced from, Exchange4Media; additional content by WARC staff