With over 800 people infected by the Coronavirus, the central governments have issued an edict of 21 days lockdown till April 14, 2020. Since people are confined to their homes, the consumption of television has increased over the past week. Noticing this trend, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) members have decided to waive off all tariffs and charges for four general entertainment channels for a period of two months. As a part of offering, Sony run Sony Pal, Star India run Star Utsav, Zee TV operated Zee Anmol and Viacom18’s Colors Rishtey will be available to all viewers across the country for a period of two months free of charge on all direct-to-home (DTH) and cable networks.
The broadcasting fraternity believes that this will provide people who are restricted to their homes, entertainment will help provide relief during the period of lockdown. “While the constituents of the IBF face significant uncertainties, given the impact on advertising revenue for the industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we stand together to support the Government’s effort to help people in these difficult times,” IBF said in a statement.
The move came after TV audience measurement body, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) released a report highlighting a spike of 6% to 592 million viewers on television between 14 – 20 March 2020. The report also highlights TV viewing minutes per week went up by 8% to 959 billion minutes as average time spent rose by 2% to three hours and 51 minutes. Similarly, content consumption on smartphones also increased by 6% with users spending 1.4 hours a day more on their devices.
Indian Broadcasting Foundation is a not-for-profit industry association which is dedicated to the promotion of television broadcasting in, to and from India. IBF members provide channels and programmes that deliver about 90% of television viewership in India. The Foundation provides a meeting ground for its members to work in consensus on common goals. IBF has, over the years, achieved the unique position of the accredited spokes-body of the television broadcasting industry. IBF endeavours to work closely with and align industry, policy makers, regulators and partners so that the television sector in the media and entertainment industry grows to its fullest potential in an equitable manner.