A report by Mindshare India and Vidooly that determines the quantum and impact of online content consumption trends over the first quarter of 2020 via the video platforms of YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram says YouTube alone garnered over 300 billion views in the first quarter of 2020. The report looks at ways people are looking to keep themselves entertained as well as be connected with their friends and families as the while of India remains under lockdown.

The study examines the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on patterns of content consumption across media genres. It reports a sharp increase in consumption with the average user spending as many as 4 hours per day as compared to the previous 1.5 hours on social media platforms.

The comparative snapshot of online content consumption trends of Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 identifies the high and low points, showing the “stickiness” of content on video platforms with an analysis of monthly trends for each genre in Q1 2020.

COVID-19-related content saw a surge of 98% in terms of views and 199% in terms of engagement.

As the most popular video sharing platform, YouTube’s 300 billion views in Q1 2020 is 13% higher than in Q4 2019 and 11% more than in Q1 2019. The most engaged group on the platform in India continues to be the millennials, with 70% of viewership due in large part to the 18-34 age group. Entertainment, Music, and News take up the top 3 slots based on patterns of content consumption, adding up to over 70% of views in Q1 2020. Most substantively, over 90% of the views on YouTube are via mobile devices.

The section titled ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Social Media’ studies content consumption trends and analyses how creators, influencers, brands, and government agencies have been using social media platforms to communicate with their audience during the lockdown period.

Most notably, within 45 days of the lockdown, YouTube experienced a 20.5% rise in its subscriber base. In fact, COVID-19-related content saw a surge of 98% in terms of views and 199% in terms of engagement.

Genres such as Food & Recipe (52%), Gaming (23%), and Information (42%), all experienced a significant spike.

Interestingly, while ‘informational’ content and trivia are more popular on YouTube, awareness or prevention campaign videos thrive on Facebook. To help drive deeper engagement, brands are widely marketing themselves on Facebook and Instagram. On the other hand, the Government of India has focussed on YouTube to spread awareness.

M.A. Parthasarathy, CEO, Mindshare South Asia.

In terms of genres, there has been a 120% surge in uploads in the ‘Education’ category in the wake of the lockdown. ‘Music’, in the short-form content, saw a 9% decline in consumption during the lockdown period, indicating a shift in consumer behaviour towards long form content — one reason being the availability of more time at hand for the consumer. Meanwhile, genres such as Food & Recipe (52%), Gaming (23%), and Information (42%), all experienced a significant spike.

M.A. Parthasarathy, CEO, Mindshare South Asia, observed: “In unprecedented times like these, it is important to keep a finger on the pulse of the consumer. Mindshare’s partnership with Vidooly enables us to leverage data and digital analytics to truly understand the shifts in consumer behaviour when it comes to content consumption on online media platforms. Insights from this study will help us partner our clients in crafting relevant, timely and effective content solutions.”

Subrat Kar, CEO, Co-founder, Vidooly.

Subrat Kar, CEO, Co-founder, Vidooly, added: “The worldwide lockdown has resulted in significant shifts in audience behaviour, specifically in terms of online content consumption. I believe in such a scenario retention rate and watch time of videos will be the key metrics to filter and identify the best performing channels. We at Vidooly have been closely monitoring these dynamics to ascertain content that will work best for brands, influencer and government. We can definitely say that the world stage has been set to witness the new normal.”