TV Ad volumes post double-digit growth in 2021 over previous two years: BARC Report

2020 was a subdued year for television advertising, leading to a decline in total Ad Volumes across the year despite the record stay-at-home rise in viewership. 2021 has bounced back with a substantial double-digit spike, delivering an all-time high of 1824 million seconds of Ad Volumes during the year. This translated into a 22 per cent and 18 per cent growth over 2020 and 2019, respectively. The top 10 advertisers accounted for 780 million seconds of Ad Volumes, and the Next 40 accounted for 340 million seconds.

FMCG brands continued to lead in share across categories and Hindi channels continued to dominate across languages. 

New advertisers and brands consistently jumped in throughout the year, thus playing an important role in the advertising volume growth witnessed throughout 2021.

Commenting on BARC India’s latest THINK Report, 2021 – A Voluminous Year (Yearly Ad Volume Report 2021) that analyses television advertising volumes for the past year, BARC India client partnership and revenue function head Aaditya Pathak said, “2021 certainly brought in much-needed cheer to the broadcast industry. The year started off on a positive note and also ended on a high with the festive quarter. Year on year, despite pandemic impediments, television has repeatedly proved effective for every penny spent for advertisers and brands. 2021 saw over 9000 advertisers turn to television with a significant number of new entrants. Overall, 2021 was a positive year for the industry as a whole that witnessed growing value for both advertisers and broadcasters.”

Advertisers and Brands Count

TV had a total of 9239 advertisers and 14616 brands advertised on the medium in 2021, of which, 49 per cent i.e., 4483 were either new advertisers or returning ones. Similarly, for brands, 51 per cent i.e., 7470 were new or returning brands.


The FMCG category continued to lead with an enormous share of 1117 million seconds of Ad Volumes in 2021, followed by e-commerce with 185 million seconds and building, industrial, and land materials/equipment with 60 million seconds. Television also understandably continued to be an important medium for the Corporate Brand Image category which registered 2x growths over 2019 with 24 million seconds.

The Ecommerce category had a total of 587 advertisers in 2021 of which, 65 per cent were new entrants or earlier advertisers returning to TV in 2021, registering a growth of 51 per cent over 2020 and 26 per cent over 2019. Media/entertainment/social media, education, online shopping, matrimonial and financial services were the top five sub-categories within e-commerce. Ad Volumes for Education grew by 461 per cent and financial services by 153 per cent over 2020. 


While Hindi continues to play a dominant part of the language mix, regional language channels recorded strong growth as well across 2021. Ad Volumes for Bhojpuri language channels doubled over 2019 and Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati and Assamese language channels posted over 40 per cent growth over 2019. South language channels i.e., Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada, grew by 26 per cent over 2020.

2021 – Quarterly Analysis

Q1 2021 kick-started on a positive note having registered 24 per cent growth over 2020 and 21 per cent growth over 2019. Despite the sporadic and partial lockdowns on account of the second wave of COVID-19, Ad Volumes for Q2’ 21 were relatively higher at 417 million seconds as compared to Q2’19 which recorded 399 million seconds. Q4’21 brought in cheer for broadcasters with a bumper festive season that recorded 489 million seconds of Ad Volumes, the highest quarter ever. New advertisers continued to flock to television for effective communication with Q4’21 welcoming 2156 new advertisers or earlier ones returning to the medium, the highest for the year.

After a marginal decline in Q2 2021 on account of the lockdowns, regional language channels experienced steady growth in Q3 and Q4.

SD & HD Channels 

Ad Volumes for HD channels in 2021 grew by 11 per cent over the previous year and SD channels grew by 22 per cent in 2021 over 2020 and by 20 per cent over 2019.

TV Commercials

TV commercials with an Average Commercial Duration of fewer than 30 seconds were most favoured by advertisers while spots more than 60 seconds were least preferred.  The Average Commercial Duration has been reducing Y-O-Y. The Prime-Time band, i.e., 20:00 hours to 24:00 hours enjoyed the maximum share of Ad Volumes at 27%. The share of Ad Volumes for the four-time bands, viz 08:00 – 12:00 hrs, 12:00-16:00 hrs, 16:00-20:00 hrs, and 20:00-24:00 hrs, continued to stay the same since 2019. TV commercials in local languages on regional channels are consistently increasing since 2019. 

IPL 2021

IPL 2021 registered a total of 1680 thousand seconds of Ad Volumes with 119 advertisers and 228 brands in all. There were 59 new advertisers and 158 new brands for the season. The Top 10 advertisers for the season contributed 35 per cent of the Ad Volumes. 

Tokyo Olympics

With 466 thousand seconds, Ad Volumes for the Tokyo Olympics were almost at par with Rio Olympics that was held in 2016. There were 34 advertisers and 61 brands that advertised during Tokyo Olympics. Significantly, 31 per cent of the Ad Volumes during the Tokyo Olympics featured Olympians. 

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