Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s televised address on the ‘Complete Lockdown’ was the biggest-ever news event, attracting unique viewers close to 197 million. The report, prepared by BARC-Nielsen, also says time spent on smartphones during same week rose by one and a half hours.

Television consumption rose by 8% across India during Week-1 of  COVID-19 even as time spent on smartphones increased by 6%, translating into a spike of one and a half hours, according to a report by BARC India and Nielsen on TV and Smartphone consumption during the COVID-19 disruption. 

The study titled, ‘What’s happening in the TV & Smartphone Landscape?’, was presented by Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India, and Dolly Jha, Country Leader, Nielsen Global Media, South Asia. The periods under comparison was between 13th Jan to 2nd Feb and 16th March to 22nd March.

Expectedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s televised address on the ‘Complete Lockdown’ was the biggest-ever news event, with the address attracting unique viewers close to 197 million, which was considerably higher than those of the IPL Finals of 133 million.

According to the data, the growth in TV has primarily come from non-prime viewership. Growth in the HSM (Hindi Speaking Market) category was higher than that in the South, driven by ATS (Average Time Spent) and Reach. Also, news consumption on smartphones has now gone beyond the Metros, according to the report.

Meanwhile, time spent on VOD (Video on Demand) rose, especially among the older-age group. Shopping, travel, and food apps, however, largely headed south in Week 1.

Dolly Jha, Country Leader, Nielsen Global Media, South Asia

Referring to the 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.” 

Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India.

Sunil Lulla, Chief Executive Officer, BARC India, said, “These are unfortunate and unprecedented times. Working closely with Nielsen, we bring for our customers and stakeholders, 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.”