Home > News > India > News TV viewership jumps nearly fourfold

NEW DELHI: Television viewing and smartphone usage in India have jumped, as was expected, as the 21-day countrywide lockdown, aimed at containing the pandemic, gets underway.

Time spent on smartphones per user per week has rose 12% in week two of lockdown when compared with pre-covid 19 period. Users are now spending 3.8 hours per day or 26.4 hours per week on their smartphones, higher than 3.4 hours per day or 23.6 hours per week earlier.

Television consumption has seen a 37% spike across India, with 622 million watching TV daily for 4 hours 40 minutes.

The findings are part of the second report BARC has brought out along with data measurement firm Nielsen, amid the lockdown, on TV viewership and smartphone usage. It is titled Crisis Consumption: An Insights Series Into TV, Smartphones and Audiences.

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

The growth in smartphone usage has been driven by the 35-44 age group whose consumption has increased by 18%. While both men and women have registered a 12% increase in the time spent per user per week, mini-metros have seen a 15% rise compared with metros at 11%.

People, however, are spending more time connecting virtually than actually calling others up. While call time has rose 5% in the second week of disruption when compared to the pre-covid period, time spent on chatting and on social networking sites rose 43% and 42% respectively.

People have displayed a clear inclination to stay informed - the percentage of users accessing news apps per week has risen 17% in week two versus the pre-covid period. For the same period, the time spent per user per week on gaming and video streaming apps increased 26% and 11% respectively.

For obvious reasons, time spent on shopping, accessing travel information or ordering food online has dropped by 38%, 53% and 41% respectively.

Meanwhile, the 37% growth in TV viewership includes 41% growth for the Hindi-speaking markets and 31% for the south. This has been driven by the 2-14 age group that has registered 47% rise in viewing time.

News has been the biggest beneficiary, with the genre seeing a 298% surge in viewership.

Consequently, advertising FCT (free commercial time) has risen by 15%, with news channels seeing a 24% jump. The growth has been driven by food and beverage and personal care and hygiene products that command 17% share of the advertising pie.

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