Covid-19 sees TV & Smartphone grow

27 Mar,2020


By A Correspondent


Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC India) went a step further on its attempt to offer a combined measurement of television and digital consumption. TV viewing minutes and Smartphone usage went up 8% and 6.2% respectively as BARC India and Nielsen unveil report on the impact of Covid-19


BARC and Nielsen put together a report to understand the changes in consumption behaviour of television and smartphones given the extraordinary situation surrounding the COVID pandemic and its fallout.


Sharing her views on the current surge in smartphone usage, Dolly Jha, Country Leader Nielsen Global Media, South Asia said, “We are living through unprecedented times! Physical Social Distancing seems to have led to a phenomenal growth in Virtual Social Togetherness with an almost 20% increase in time spent per user on Chats, Social Media and News in the last one week. And we anticipate this to grow further.”


Elaborating on the topic, Sunil Lulla, Chief Executive Officer, BARC India said: “These are unfortunate and unprecedented times. Working closely with Nielsen, we bring for our customers and stake-holders, this very significant and important update, on change in content and advertising consumption behaviour, with a significant population at home. We will report soon enough, the impact of total lockdown. Our respective brave teams are working (WFH) round the clock to ensure the TV measurement currency, continues uninterrupted.”


Highlights of the report:

1. The Covid-19 disruption period has seen an increase in television viewership – 6% increase in TV reach and 8% increase in TV viewing minutes /week. The time spent on TV / viewer has seen a jump by 2%. The PM’s address to the nation on complete lockdown on March 24 garnered unprecedented viewership of 197 million watching it across the country.


2. When we look at smartphone behaviour the time spent on smartphones per user has gone up by 6.2%. The time spent/user/week on VOD apps has also seen an increase of 3%. If we look at the increase in the time spent/user/week over that of the previous week (to take away the impact of Cricket viewing in the PRE COVID period considered), we can see a jump of 5%.


3. Kids’ schools being shut and the stress of exams off their shoulders has resulted an increase in television viewing (+20%). With corporate India getting into Work from Home mode, NCCS A showed an 11% increase in viewership. Even on smartphone usage, the increase in driven NCCS A (+7.7%) and 35-44-year-olds (+10.7%).


4. People staying at home led to watching TV throughout the day and hence the growth in TV viewing is coming from Non-Prime Time slots (8am – 5 pm).


5. The need for continuous updates expectedly has led to a huge increase in news consumption on Television (57% increase in Impressions), while spending more time as a family together could be leading to the Movies genre and the Kids genre also showing significant increases.


6. This behaviour is seen in digital consumption as well with News and Gaming showing huge increases. News apps saw 8% more users per week with an increase of 17% in time spent/user/week. This growth was led by non-English News apps (+87%). Gaming apps saw an increase of 2% in users/week and with a 11% increase in time spent/user/week.


7. With a lot of uncertainty around what is happening, people have increased their time spent on Chatting (+23%) and Social Networking (+25%) apps.  Almost all social networking apps –  Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have seen significant increases not only in time spent /user/week but also in the sessions/ user/ week.


8. Shopping apps, Travel apps and Food Apps have seen a huge drop in both users/ week and time spent/user/week.


9. It’s not just TV viewership that has seen an increase –advertising FCT on TV has increased by 13%.


Measurement considerations:

  BARC Nielsen Smartphone Panel
Coverage All India (Urban + Rural) All India (Urban 1 Lakh plus)
TG ALL NCCS 2+ years NCCS ABC 15-44 years

Android Smartphone Users

Time Period PRE COVID  – 11th Jan 2020- 31st Jan 2020 PRE COVID –  13th Jan 2020 – 2nd Feb 2020
COVID DISRUPTION – 14th March 2020 to 20th March 2020 COVID DISRUPTION – 16th March 2020 to 22nd March 2020
Week definition Saturday to Friday Monday to Sunday




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