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Television viewership cools to 31% in week six of lockdown

Television viewing lost some steam in the sixth week of the covid-19 disruption with viewership showing only a 31% rise compared to the pre-covid period. The viewership rose 40% in week five versus the previous period.

This may be attributed to new strategies some channels have come up with for content. For one, Uttar Ramayana, the follow-up to Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana, on Doordarshan led to a 46% drop in slot viewership with the 9 am slot dropping by 66% and the 9 pm slot by 29%.

Ramayana’s morning viewers moved to news, kids and music channels with viewership for the three rising by 23%, 12% and 11%, respectively, in the same slot. The evening audiences, on the other hand, moved to other general entertainment channels and movies with the two recording 38% and 32%, respectively, higher viewership at that time.

The findings are part of the sixth 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-April.

The other big blow has come from showcasing web originals on general entertainment channels. For instance, Star Plus came out with Hostar original Hostages, and slot viewership dropped from 2.9 million impressions to 255,000 impressions in the last week in Hindi-speaking urban markets alone.

Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes. Meanwhile, ALTBalaji original Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat, has taken slot viewership down from 6.6 million impressions to 837,000.

Currently, 46% of all audiences watch television all seven days of the week. News continues to drive growth, albeit at lower levels than last week, 164% as compared to 195%, as do movies at 61% versus 67%.

There is, however, some good news for Doordarshan from the airing of POGO’s popular kids show Chhota Bheem that has improved slot viewership by 20 times in the 2-14 age group in Hindi-speaking markets.

Advertising FCT (free commercial time) has dropped by 1% as compared to last week with essential services and social messaging contributing 77% of the overall inventory this week.

The time people spend on their smartphones seems to have stabilised as well with daily time spent having grown only 9% in week six as compared to the pre-covid period while the figure stood at 12% in week three. Gaming continues to drive smartphone usage, making up for 30% of overall time spent, followed by chatting and voice features at 28% and social networking at 27%.

Video streaming services have managed to draw audiences too, their user base remains stable at a 96% increase since the pre-covid period and a 7% rise in the time spent on the platforms. Data collated from select VoD services such as Amazon Prime, Hotstar, MX Player, Netflix, VOOT and ZEE5 shows Irrfan Khan-starrer Angrezi Medium recently released on Disney+ Hotstar is the top movie on smartphone during the covid-19 lockdown. Livemint

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