Weekly TV consumption sets a national record during March 20-27

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on April 02, 2020 Published on April 02, 2020

The March 20-27 week garnered the highest ever weekly television consumption in India at 1.20 trillion minutes, with people staying indoors amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The lockdown period registered many firsts in TV viewing history, with news and movies recording an all-time high growth in weekly viewership and Hindi movies surpassing Hindi General Entertainment Channel (GEC) in terms of weekly viewership.

Covid effect

This was revealed by the second edition of an insights report released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India and Nielsen on Thursday, which focuses on the impact of Covid-19 on television and digital media behaviour across India.

The 1.20 trillion minutes also marks a 37 per cent jump in weekly TV viewing from the pre-Covid period, up from 887 minutes. Now, there are 622 million viewers watching TV daily for 4 hours and 40 minutes.

For gauging the TV behaviour, BARC looked at both the urban and rural population. It identified the pre-Covid time as the period falling between January 11 and 31. March 14 to 20 is identified as week 1 of Covid disruption, while week 2 is identified as falling between March 20 and March 27

Non-primetime viewership has surged by more than 70 per cent in India compared with the pre-Covid period, it found. Within this, news consumption marked the highest jump by 344 per cent last week (week 2) compared with the pre-Covid time in January.

The market share of news channels also tripled to 21 per cent last week compared with the pre-Covid time, the report found.

What is more, non-prime time is the new prime-time for kids channels, it said, with the non-prime time being identified as falling between 10 am and 12 pm.

Global pattern

The global consumption patterns also mirror similar trends. For instance, in the US, prime time levels of people using television and households using TV were up by about 10 per cent among the 18- 49 age group. In China, news viewing has more than doubled so far in 2020, compared to 2019, said the report.

As for trends in advertising, the free commercial time (FCT) between March 14 to March 24 grew by 6 lakh seconds, a 15 per cent jump, compared to the pre-Covid period.

The evening slot of Ramayana aired on Doordarshan channel on Sunday, March 29, recorded the all-time high among serials in Hindi General Entertainment Channel since 2015, with 51 million people watching it, the report said. Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had said the Ramayan series – a popular mythological series from the mid-1980s – was being telecast again on public demand.

Smartphone usage

As for the trends in smartphone behaviour, Nielsen looked at the urban 1 lakh + (NCCS ABS, 15-44 years) Android smartphone users’ section. It identified the pre-Covid-19 time as the period between January 13 and February 2. Week 1 of Covid disruption is identified as the March 16 to 22 period, while week 2 is identified as falling between March 21 and 27.

The time spent on smartphones in week 2 of Covid disruption increased by almost 3 hours compared with the pre-Covid time.

Consumers spent more time (40 minutes per user) on news apps in week 2 of Covid disruption, a 45 per cent jump from 27 minutes per user per week during pre-Covid time, it said. Time spent on video streaming apps also increased by 11 per cent during this time.

E-comm woes

E-commerce continues to suffer on account of difficulties in logistics management during the lockdown, it found. Covid disruption affects e-commerce acutely, with the time spent per user per week on shopping channels reducing to 26 minutes in week 2, compared to 43 minutes in pre-Covid time.

Similarly, travel, food ordering and mobile payments also fell from 15, 17 and 31 minutes in pre-Covid time to 7, 10 and 25 respectively in week 2.

Published on April 02, 2020

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