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HomeNewsNational NewsBARC-Nielsen Report: COVID-19 pushes up viewership of news channels & OTT platforms
Friday, 27 March 2020 11:06

BARC-Nielsen Report: COVID-19 pushes up viewership of news channels & OTT platforms

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As per a joint BARC-Nielsen study on the content consumption trends during the lockdown due COVID-19, the news channels have been the biggest gainer. OTT platforms gained too.

The news genre has witnessed 57% growth in impressions in week 11 starting 14th March as compared to Week 2 to Week 4 (11th to 31st January). The daily average reach for the genre is 34% while the daily average time spent (ATS) increased by 17%.

As per report, the news user base has grown on the digital in the first week of Covid-19 disruption. The news users grew 8% to 20% users per week while the time spent per user per week was up 17% to 32 minutes. This growth was led by non-English News apps (+87%).

The report say that the biggest news consumption growth has come from mini-metros (30%) followed by Tier I & II (14%) and metros (12%). News aggregators have seen 22% growth in user base while other news apps have registered a whopping 76% growth. Not just apps, news websites were also visited by 26% more users while the number of website visits per user went up by 29%.

Also, the Corona caused disruption period has seen an increase in television viewership – a 6% increase in TV Reach and an 8% increase in TV viewing minutes/week. The time spent on TV/viewer has seen a jump by 2%. The average daily TV viewers grew by 32 million to 592 million in week 11 as compared to week 2-4. Weekly viewing minutes stood at 959 billion compared to 887 billion. Daily ATS increased to 3 hours and 51 minutes.

In terms of markets, the HSM growth (10%) was higher than the South (5%). HSM growth was driven by Reach whereas South is driven by both ATS and Reach. The urban India viewership in week 11 is the second-highest since 2015 while in six megacities it is the fourth highest week since 2015.

Country’s PM Modi’s address to the Nation on complete lockdown garnered an unprecedented viewership of 197 million watching it across the country with unique viewers higher than the Indian Premier League (IPL) Finals (133 million). PM Modi’s address on the three-week lockdown was the biggest ever News event. The 24th March address was aired on 201 channels and had 3891 million minutes of viewing.

Kids genre registered 33%, 20%, and 11% growth in impressions, average reach, and time spent respectively. The movie genre’s growth stood at impressions (14%), reach (10%) and time spent (4%). The time spent on GECs registered a drop due to a lack of fresh content. The GECs are relying on re-runs due to the cancellation of shootings. Sports genre has seen the biggest drop in impressions, reach and time-spent since there were no live sporting events.

The report added that the time spent on smartphones per user has gone up by 6.2% to 25 hours. The time spent/user/week on VOD apps has also seen an increase of 3%. The increase in the time spent/user/week over that of the previous week (to take away the impact of Cricket viewing in the PRE COVID period considered), there is a jump of 5%.

The digital data is based on a smartphone panel representing 1L+, NCCS ABC, 15-44. The period under consideration is COVID Disruption Data (16th Mar’20 – 22nd Mar’20) as compared to Pre COVID-19 Data (13th Jan’20 – 2nd Feb’20).

Also, the consumption of gaming has also shown a huge increase. Gaming apps saw an increase of 2% in users/week and with a 11% increase in time spent/user/week. With a lot of uncertainty around what is happening, people have increased their time spent on Chatting (+23%) and Social Networking (+25%) apps. Almost all social networking apps – Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have seen significant increases not only in time spent /user/week but also in the sessions/ user/ week.

Nielsen Global Media Country Leader South Asia Dolly Jha said, “We are living through unprecedented times! Physical Social Distancing seems to have led to phenomenal growth in Virtual Social Togetherness with an almost 20% increase in time spent per user on Chats, Social Media and News in the last one week. And we anticipate this to grow further.”

Elaborating on the topic, BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla said, “These are unfortunate and unprecedented times. Working closely with Nielsen, we bring for our customers and stakeholders, this very significant and important update, on change in content and advertising consumption behaviour, with a significant population at home. We will report soon enough, the impact of total lockdown. Our respective brave teams are working (WFH) round the clock to ensure the TV measurement currency, continues uninterrupted.”

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