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Weekly TV viewing of sports down 35% in 2020 despite IPL

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on March 01, 2021

no sports events were possible during the lockdown and the immediate period after that istockphoto   -  istockphoto

Viewing minutes increased the most for news/business news and kids: BARC

Even as the Indian Premier League 2020 garnered 400 billion minutes of television consumption — reportedly the highest ever for an Indian sports tournament — the sports genre in 2020 saw its weekly TV viewing minutes decreasing by 35 per cent year-on-year, according to data shared by Broadcast Audience Research Council, (BARC) India.

In the sports genre, the weekly TV viewing minutes decreased by 35 per cent year-on-year in 2020 - down from 29 billion weekly viewing minutes in 2019 to 19 billion weekly viewing minutes in 2020, according to BARC India, which released the third edition of its yearbook titled ‘The Year After Two Thousand & Nineteen’ on Monday.

The weekly TV viewing minutes increased the most for news/business news and kids, with both genres clocking a 27 per cent increase year-on-year.

Starved of action

“Given that no sports events were possible during the lockdown and the immediate period after that, sports channels were starved of live action for a major part of the year. The genre had some reason for cheer towards the tail-end of the year, with IPL-13 that played out over September-November 2020. The viewership of the genre understandably declined by 35 per cent over 2019. Advertising volumes also declined by 19 per cent,” said BARC in its yearbook.

Meanwhile, IPL 2020’s 400 billion minutes of TV consumption in total is the highest ever for an Indian sports tournament, according to BARC. TV viewership for IPL 2020 also grew by 23 per cent compared to IPL 2019.

Communication by the Government was on an upsurge during lockdown, said BARC, with ad volumes for government messaging growing by 184 per cent (2.7 times) during April-June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. 2020 saw an overall 12 per cent increase in social/government advertisement volume on TV.

“Mythological Classics like Ramayan and Mahabharat made a comeback on our TV screens, Week 13, 2020, onwards. Ramayana now holds the record of the most watched TV programme in the world,” BARC claimed. Television viewership as a whole grew by nine per cent year-on-year in 2020, driven by the increase in average time spent (ATS) on TV, said BARC. The ATS increased from three hours and 42 minutes daily in 2019 to four hours and two minutes daily in 2020. Viewership for general entertainment channels (GEC), news, movies and kids genre grew amid the pandemic-induced lockdown, it stated.

TV viewership grew by 23 per cent during mid-march to June in 2020 as compared to the January to early March period of the same year.

Ad volumes

As for trends relating to ad volumes, the total advertisement volume on TV fell by three per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year. “The first half of 2020 was a challenging period for brand managers and marketers… However green shoots of recovery began to emerge in the second half of 2020,” said BARC. Ad Volumes grew by 34 per cent in the second half of 2020 compared to the first half of the year. “Driven by the classics, advertisers placed their bets on DD’s GECs during lockdown. Ad volumes for DD’s GECs grew by 62 per cent in April-June quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.”

The GEC genre took up 50 per cent of the genre share in 2020, followed by movies at 24 per cent and news/business news at 10 per cent. Genres like kids, music/youth, sports and music followed suit.

A slightly higher growth in TV viewership was seen in the urban market compared to the rural market, and in Hindi speaking markets over the South markets, BARC found.

The share of non-prime time (NPT) viewership in total TV viewership rose from 51 per cent in 2019 to 53 per cent in 2020. NPT viewership for GEC, news and kids grew by 16 per cent, 26 per cent and 31 per cent respectively in 2020 compared to 2019.

Published on March 01, 2021

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