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Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

TV viewership loses pace, smartphone usage stable in lockdown 3.0

  • Prime-time and non-prime time slots have fallen by 1% and 4%, respectively, as against in week six of the lockdown
  • The Ramayana and Mahabharata launches on Star Plus and Colors led to a 65% and 24% spike in slot viewership

NEW DELHI: The growth in India's television viewership has slowed down and smartphone usage has stabilised in the seventh week of the lockdown that has mandated people to stay at home. TV viewership grew 29% in the seventh week, compared with the pre-covid period, the third weekly consecutive drop after achieving 31% in week six and 40% in the fifth. The overall reach and average time spent has also dropped by 1% as compared to last week.

Currently, 46% of all viewers watch television seven days of the week. However, prime-time and non-prime time slots have fallen by 1% and 4%, respectively, against in week six of the disruption.

The findings are part of the seventh report by television viewership monitoring agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) and data measurement firm Nielsen on TV viewership and smartphone usage. BARC and Nielsen have taken January as the pre-covid period and compared it with data in mid-April.

News has grown by only 166% this week versus 195% in week five. Movies have shown a 51% rise as against week five’s 67% and infotainment has increased a 40% growth compared to 48% earlier.

The only good news is for TV mythological shows, re-introduced across channels during the lockdown. For instance, the final episode of Uttar Ramayana, the follow-up to Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana, improved slot viewership by 147 times for Doordarshan, while the launch of Shree Krishna on the same channel, led to a 62 times rise. The Ramayana and Mahabharata launches on Star Plus and Colors led to a 65% and 24% spike in slot viewership, respectively.

Advertising free commercial time, or FCT, dropped by 6% this week as compared to last week but there has been a 9% increase in advertiser count.

The week, however, saw the highest spike in daily time spent on smartphones—at 16%, in India when compared to the pre-covid period. Users now spend an average of four hours on their smartphones per day, while the per-day per-user data consumption has grown by 21%. This growth is driven by metros that have alone witnessed a 19% 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.

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