TV viewing hit, smartphone usage stable as India set to enter lockdown 4.01 min read . Updated: 14 May 2020, 06:01 PM IST
- This is the fourth successive weekly decline in TV viewership growth
- Smartphone usage remained relatively stable, with 14% growth
NEW DELHI: Television is losing eyeballs as India is set to enter the fourth phase of covid-19 lockdown, with viewership growth slowing down to 24% in week eight of the pandemic-driven disruption. This is the fourth successive weekly decline in viewership growth and less than the 29% rise seen in seventh week. In week six, TV viewings had risen 31% , and by 40% in week five.
The growth in number of people watching TV all seven days of the week also slowed down to 39% this week when compared to the pre-covid period, versus the 46% rise in the previous week. Compared to 239 million people watching TV daily in the pre-covid times, now 363 million people do so.
The lack of fresh content on general entertainment channels and the effect of reruns waning away is evident in the fact that prime-time viewership is 7% lower than what it used to be in pre-covid days. However, non-prime time viewership continues to operate at 59% higher levels than the pre-covid period.
The findings are part of the eighth 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 early May.
The 24% growth in viewership includes 31% rise for the Hindi-speaking markets and 13% spike in the south. The decline of prime time viewership versus pre-covid levels is also more pronounced in the south at 16% versus the Hindi-speaking markets at 2%.
Clearly, people in heavy red zones are still watching much more TV than those in low red zones, presumably because they can’t step out as much. The former has witnessed only an 11.8% decline in viewership compared to the peak covid period in April while the latter has seen a 15.2% drop.
Advertising FCT (free commercial time) has dropped 9% week-on-week, higher than the 6% drop observed last week.
Smartphone usage remains relatively stable, with 14% growth compared to the pre-covid period. Growth was 16% last week. Data consumed per user per day grew 18% versus 21% last week. Total time spent remains consistent at around 4 hours per day with utility and phone features commanding highest share of the time (16%), followed by social networking (15%), video streaming (14%) and gaming (10%).