Home >News >India >Ramayana to India-Pak cricket: Young viewers, classic reruns drive TV growth
A young girl watches Ramayana in her phone, during the nationwide lockdown, (Photo: PTI)
A young girl watches Ramayana in her phone, during the nationwide lockdown, (Photo: PTI)

Ramayana to India-Pak cricket: Young viewers, classic reruns drive TV growth

  • Duplication of audiences for Ramayana is the highest among all Hindi general entertainment genre
  • The charm of reruns also has channels airing India-Pakistan matches and WWE tournaments

NEW DELHI: The massive popularity of Doordarshan’s old classics is being driven by younger audiences who are turning to them to keep themselves engaged during the covid-19 lockdown. While 22% of kids are watching Ramanand Sagar’s 33-year-old Ramayana with their grandparents or a senior at home, 25% of them are tuned in to the other mythological epic Mahabharat.

Duplication of audiences for Ramayana is the highest among all Hindi GEC (general entertainment genre) shows, 73% of audiences move from one episode to another while 83% go from one week to another.

The findings are part of the fourth 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 looked at January as the pre-covid period and compared it with data in mid-March.

While the spike in viewing has been observed across urban and rural India among people above two years of age, smartphone usage was tracked across 12,000, 15-44 year-old Android smartphone users.

Overall, TV viewership has grown by 38% in the fourth week of the covid-19 disruption, as compared to the pre-covid period. This is a 5% drop from week three (43%). The viewership continues to be driven by kids, consumption for the 2-14 age group has risen by 46% followed by the 15-21 category at 38%.

News continues to drive TV viewership, having grown by 219% in week four, followed by movies at 73%. The charm of reruns also has channels airing classic India-Pakistan matches and WWE tournaments, the sports genre having grown 21% last week and 5% this week.

“In case of reruns, people know it’s good content even if it’s two or three decades old. Apart from that, there is no fresh content on TV as of now and not everyone can afford or access services like Netflix even though they do have the time," said Abneesh Roy, senior vice-president (research), Edelweiss Securities.

The consumption of Hindi content has grown across GEC, movies and news, by 71% in the fourth week as compared to the pre-covid period.

However, advertising FCT (free commercial time) has fallen by 26% in the fourth week of the lockdown as compared to the period preceding it. Among sectors, social ads have grown exponentially during the covid-19 period, besides essential products.

As far as smartphone usage goes, the amount of Internet data used has grown by 19% in week four. The growth is driven by an older age group with the consumption of the 35-plus category having risen by 35%.

Further 39% of all top 100 searches on Google this week were related to covid-19. Besides, 12% of all users accessed the Arogya Setu app, a mobile application, launched by the Union health ministry to help users identify whether they are at a risk of virus infection.

As far as premium audiences go, there has been a sharp increase in the accessing of news apps (83%), followed by games at 35%, and social networking at 34% in week four. Video streaming platforms have been a beneficiary too, with a 12% increase in the time spent per user per week.

Having collated viewership of content from popular services like Amazon Prime, Hotstar, MX Player online, Netflix, VOOT and ZEE5, the top programmes of the week, according to the report, are Netflix’s Spanish crime drama Money Heist, Aaj Tak news pieces on Disney+ Hotstar and the Mahaprabhu Sree Chaitanya serial on VOOT.

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