In a clear indication that the engines of growth in the Indian economy is on the move, the ninth edition of BARC India-Nielsen joint report has signaled a drop in TV viewership and smart phone consumption in week 20 (May 16-22) compared to increased viewership in previous weeks.
During the same period, gaming, social networking, video conferencing also saw a drop from peak usage (compared to previous weeks), while shopping has begun to revive. The report captures the point that online shopping is on the rise from the smart phone usage behavior.
The overall advertising volume also rose 16 per cent in week 20 as compared to week 18 (May 2-8, 2020)
Going by a latest research report by India’s Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the total TV viewership recorded 1 trillion viewing minutes in Week 20, is 15 per cent higher than the Pre-COVID period. However, the viewership gradually declined since week 13 (at 43 per cent peak) of the lockdown period.
The smartphone usage has seen a drop, though is still 11 per cent higher versus the pre-COVID period.
From fluctuating TV viewership to more takers for music, movies, news and kids animation, the consumption of media has seen a change, during the lockdown period. The daily TV reach in India continues to be over 600 million.
Going by the amount of time people are spending on television is over 4 hours, which is 7 per cent higher than the pre-COVID period. Interestingly, the total number of channels watched has seen a dip.
Although the amount of time, and number of days people spending on TV watching saw a rise in the entire country, only two states West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh saw a decline in this context, when current data was compared with the pre-COVID times.
An interesting trend appeared that by week 20, non-primetime viewership continued to operate higher, by 47 per cent, than pre-COVID levels, whereas, primetime viewership was 13 per cent lower than pre-COVID levels, owing to no original programming.
With shooting being halted, no new episodes are being aired with GEC telecasting the older episodes.
Viewership of mythology programming has also increased during the period. The trend also created history when epic and older shows like Ramayana fetched record-breaking TRPs for Doordarshan, which otherwise has massively low viewership, in pre-COVID times.
The report also stated that the consumption of Hindi as a language has grown, with mythology driving the growth — thanks to the re-runs of classic shows like “Ramayan”, “Sri Krishna” and “Mahabharat”. This week, the Hindi GEC attained an all time high viewership of four billion since 2015 in HSM (Hindi Speaking Market) Urban.
Another trend that was spotted was the comeback of English movies. English movies has shown an 83 per cent growth in the lockdown period.
When it comes to OTT, the disruption caused by COVID-19 gave a big fillip to OTT platforms. While the web series kept the audience glued, the top content picked by the audience includes fiction, thriller, history, news, supernatural, and mythology.
According to the report the average time spent watching linear TV in India is 1 hour and 34 minutes, and online TV on a typical day is 1 hour and 31 minutes.
Netflix engagement over the past year in India, increased by 14 per cent points to 58 per cent. It is further strengthening its position by widening its Indian slate, and getting Bollywood biggies like Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Anushka Sharma on board.
“India’s streaming market is one of the biggest and fastest-growing in the world, and at the same time, one of the most resistant to penetration from global players,” the report said.
“The country’s video market is valued at over $700 million and is expected to grow to $2.4 billion in value by 2023, with the over-the-top (OTT) industry projected to be with the highest growth rate,” it explained.
Popular movies like Thappad and Angrezi Medium being released on this platform, following the closure of theatres, also pulled in major audience.
Advertising volume has dropped by 23% than pre-COVID time period. Going by figures, brand/ variants count was up by 5 per cent in week 20 with new brands increasing by 14 per cent in the same period. With summers setting in, Soft Drinks and Air Coolers have increased the levels of advertising the most.
Companies that increased their expenditure on ads included BYJU’s app, Amazon, Reliance, Nature Fresh, Asian paints, Airtel, India Gate rice, Netflix, Dell, among others.
According to the BARC report, by the 20thweek of the lockdown, however, saw the highest spike in daily time spent on smartphones—at 11 per cent, in India when compared to the pre-COVID period.
Users now spend an average of 3 hours 43 minutes on their smart phones per day, while the per-day per-user data consumption has grown by 21 per cent.
This growth is driven by metros that have alone witnessed a 19 per cent rise in time spent on smartphones per user per week.
Data collated from select VoD (video on demand) services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, MX Player, Netflix, VOOT and ZEE5 shows that top movies viewed on smartphones in India in week seven (in terms of time spent on a content aggregated across all users who watched it) are Irrfan Khan-starrer Angrezi Medium on Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix original Extraction and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Bala.