State-wise Media Exposure in India- A Comparison (Part 1)

How many people in India have access to media?

One quick question: before deciding on planning the media options for your campaign, do you consider the media exposure level of your target audience? If no, here are some facts that would tickle your grey cells.

This study is based on the latest National Family Health Survey which is a large scale survey carried out across the country. As the name suggests, the survey primarily provides health-related data about Indian households but also gives an overview of the level of media exposure of people in various states. The survey covers the level of exposure to traditional media like newspapers, radio, TV, and cinema across states among men and women.

What to expect from this article?

This article is the first in the series “Best advertising strategies for new markets”. In the articles to come, we would discuss in detail, top cities and states, their demographics, media trends, top media and reach statistics and the best advertising strategies for them.

Read the next article in the series:

In this article, we would cover the following:

  • States having the highest and lowest exposure to various media
  • Media Exposure Snapshot for each state in India

 The following are some of the highlights from the study.

States having the highest and lowest exposure to various media


The following are a few observations from the charts above. We will discuss the same in detail in future articles under the series. 

  • Although in terms of media exposure, the female population is much behind their male counterparts, but in the case of newspaper and cinema, this gap is much wider. The most probable reasons would be lo literacy rate among women as well as restriction to their movements outside the home.
  • Television is the only medium where the exposure is almost the same for the male and female populations.
  • Exposure to television among the states is proportional to the per capita income of the states. The richest states in India have the highest exposure to TV.
  • Exposure to radio is mostly high in states located in hilly areas like Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand.
  • Exposure to the cinema is mostly high in Southern and Western Indian states as compared to Northern and Eastern states.

Media Exposure Snapshot for each state in India (Zone Wise)

A) North Zone:

The North Zone of India covers the Himalayan part of India and the adjoining plain areas. States that come under the North Zone are Jammu & Kashmir (now divided into two UTs- J&K and Ladakh), Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana.

In terms of media exposure, the following are some observations:

  • One pattern that emerges out is the low penetration of cinema in these states. While the presence of cinema is almost negligible in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh; Punjab and Haryana have some exposure due to the popular Punjabi film industry.
  • The newspaper has high importance in the north zone, especially among women. In states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana, more than 30% of women access newspapers on a regular basis.
  • Television emerges as the most accessed media in north zone states except Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Radio has a lackluster performance in the north zone except Jammu & Kashmir where it is one of the top two media accessed.
  • Uttar Pradesh is below the national average in terms of exposure to all four traditional media- TV, Newspaper, Radio and Cinema.

B) East Zone

Eastern Part of India covers Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. Following are the observations for the East Zone:

  • The eastern zone of India overall lacks the exposure to traditional media. For all the four media, the four states have below national average exposure except Bihar in case of radio and West Bengal in terms of television.
  • These areas of India are often termed as media-dark areas. However, with advent of cheap data and innovative non-traditional advertising, these regions have become accessible. We would discuss more about this in our next articles.

C) West Zone

Western part of India covers the desert states of Rajasthan and Gujarat and the state of Western Ghats- Maharashtra and the beach state of Goa. Following are the observations:

  • In terms of media exposure, it’s a mixed bag. While the state of Rajasthan has very low exposure to media, states of Goa and Maharashtra have very high exposure to all the media. This can be attributed to a high GDP and a higher level of urbanization.
  • Gujarat has high exposure to television, average exposure to newspaper and cinema while radio has lower penetration here.

D) South Zone

The South Zone of India covers the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

  • The high exposure of media in the states can be attributed to three factors- higher per capita income, higher literacy rate and a higher level of urbanization.
  • These states have the highest level of penetration of media owing to strong vernacular language influence

E) Central Zone

The central zone of the country covers Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Like the eastern zone, these states also have lower media penetration.

F) North East Zone

North East Zone of India covers the states of Assam, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura.

  • In terms of media exposure, North Eastern states show varied results.
  • Sikkim being the strongest of all states in terms of GDP has a higher penetration of media.
  • The state of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura exhibit very low access to various traditional media.
  • The states of Meghalaya, Manipur, and Mizoram too have overall lower media penetration but show a higher level of media exposure among women. This is something unique when compared with the rest of India due to the dominance of women in households.

Read the next article in the series:

What’s Next?

In the above sections, we had a sneak-peek into the media exposure in each of the states in India. From an advertiser’s point of view, knowing only about the level of media exposure might not be enough. One needs to understand the demographics of the state as well as the various media players as well as their reach. This detailed analysis would give the advertisers an idea about which media to be selected followed by the platforms. All of this would be discussed in the next articles in the series.

In case you would want to know something more about devising advertising strategy for each state, let us know at

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