This is one positive we can be happy about! In the lockdown period because of the COVID-19 pandemic, viewership across Television and mobile screens has seen a huge surge, leading to higher engagement and experimentation with content, not only during prime-time but non-prime time too.
According to BARC-Nielsen Week 15 data, Television viewership has surged to 1.24 trillion viewing minutes, a 40% surge over the pre COVID-19 period, as people are watching Television for more than four hours per day. Daily time spent on smartphones in Week 15 of COVID-19 disruption has been 17.8 billion minutes, a 10% increase from pre-COVID-19 average of 16.1 billion minutes.
Overall Television viewership across categories has grown by 40% with the increased time spent during the lockdown, non-prime-time being the key driver of TV viewership growth. Growth in Week 15 (during lockdown) data as compared to Week 2 to Week 4 (pre-COVID-19 lockdown), non-prime-time TV viewership increased by 79% across India. For the Hindi Speaking Market (HSM), it grew by 79% and for South, it increased by 56%.
Demographically, viewership growth is largely driven by the 15-21 age group, contributing 16% of total TV viewership in urban markets. NCCS A has seen the highest viewership growth during COVID-19 across urban and rural market.
Obviously, News has seen major surge in viewership, with a growth of 195% and business news 82% respectively. Movies come second with 67% growth in viewership over the pre-COVID-19 period followed by infotainment at 48%, Youth 41% and kids 39%. News stays strong in HSM with over 200% growth in Week 15 over pre-COVID-19 period.
“While prime-time continues to be the biggest peak, there has been significant growth in non-prime-time also, specially the afternoon band. This growth is across geographies and age groups,” says Vivek Srivastava, President - Strategy and Business Head - English Entertainment Cluster, Times Network.
WEEK 15 RECORDED 40% GROWTH OVER PRE COVID-19 PERIOD AT 1.24 TRILLION MINUTES
Individuals watching TV for all 7 days increase to 48% Viewership grew by 1% over Week 14 led by ATS
Increase in the total TV consumption in the Southern region was 29% in Week 15 as compared to the pre-COVID-19 period as per BARC. “An increase in viewership growth of 56% from non-prime-time from the South market comes as a surprise. Considering the lockdown, people are home throughout the day, spending more time watching TV, which has led to an increase in the viewership of movies as well,” says Ravish Kumar, Head - Regional TV Network, Viacom18.
“Going forward, the news genre will be relatively better placed. Once the economy opens up, all sectors will have a new base to work upon,” says Barun Das, CEO, TV9 Network.
GEC VIEWERSHIP SWELLS
While overall General Entertainment Channel (GEC) viewership grew by 17%, the Hindi GEC space saw a growth of 43% in the HSM Urban space. HSM has seen a higher growth of 45% as compared to 29% growth seen in South, where movies are a great driver of viewership growth.
“Catching up on earlier shows, catalogue programming or a replay of some classic programming is paying benefits for the GECs,” said Sunil Lulla, Chief Executive Officer, BARC India during the BARC-Nielsen webinar on Week 15 data last week.
‘Now is a good time to advertise, as more people are seeing ads’
“It is actually a good time to communicate for brands, provided they do not have supply chain issues. If a brand did not have the threshold level of a Top 3 in a particular category from a share of voice of Free Commercial Time (FCT), now is a good time. Because more people are seeing ads now, than in the pre-COVID period. There is more viewing, less switch out and more attention towards the ads. Economically, there cannot be a better time.”
Chief Executive Officer, BARC India
‘e-commerce will need higher ad volume and may pay healthy rates’
“We expect e-commerce may be the first off the block and would need higher ad volume and premium inventory, and therefore may be willing to pay healthy rates. As for FMCGs, in order to restore/increase their Share of Voice, they may need more ad volume as well, but require some price discounts. It will all depend on how important and relevant the category is to the consumer. We expect durables such as fans, mobiles, ACs, coolers etc., and summer-focused categories to come back immediately, and it will depend on the ‘value’ offered, hence it is not just a price game.”
Chief Growth Officer - Advertisement Revenue, ZEEL
‘We’re already seeing a lot of interest by advertisers’
“Advertising in April has seen a slow start for sure but one has to compare it in the context of a pre-existing slowdown in the economy, end of a financial year with plans of new fiscal being made and different ways of working through online apps. It takes time for things to adjust to the new way of working and we are already seeing a lot of interest by various advertisers who are looking at creative ways of reaching out to audiences. New creatives by clients aren’t coming in and some old creatives might not fit in with the current scenario. Hence, we at Network18 have started actively engaging with clients to help them with creative solutions to gain from the huge ratings upsurge that news is seeing. We remain optimistic about the days ahead.”
CEO - Television News, Network18
‘Sudden rise of viewership in HSM; people adopting TV more than ever’
“Almost 70% of the families are joining in as early as 8 am, leading to a spike in viewership in the early morning slots as well. Southern markets have always been very high in terms of penetration and consumption as compared to the North. But the trend being noted in this period is the sudden rise in the Hindi Speaking Markets (HSM) with viewers adopting the television more than ever, to fill the headroom in viewership especially in markets such as Rajasthan, Punjab, MP and Bihar almost catching up to the levels of the South.”
Chief Consumer Officer, ZEEL
‘In 2-14 years TG, the Kids genre has grown by 39%’
“In the 2-14 years TG, the Kids genre has grown by 39%, where the Nickelodeon franchise has witnessed 43% growth in ratings. The Nick franchise has witnessed exponential growth across geographies with 33% in Urban, HSM market has grown by 32%, Metros by 26% and South by 62%. The lockdown has also resulted in increased viewership in the hours between 9 am to 2 pm in the Kids category. Co-viewing of 15+ TG has also witnessed 38 % growth in the Kids category during this time as families are watching it together.”
Nina Elavia Jaipuria
Head-Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18
“While viewership surges, there have been some unique trends we have seen. There has been an explosion in the category, a tectonic shift in terms of consumption. Families have turned to their trusted TV to remain connected to the world in this period of social isolation. Almost 70% of the families are joining in as early as 8 am, leading to a spike in viewership in the early morning slots as well. Southern markets have always been very high in terms of penetration and consumption as compared to the North. But the trend being noted in this period is the sudden rise in HSM with viewers adopting Television more than ever, to fill the headroom in viewership, especially in markets such as Rajasthan, Punjab, MP and Bihar almost catching up to the levels of the South. In fact, as per BARC data for the last three weeks, HSM viewership has been growing at 40%+ levels over the pre-COVID-19 period, while markets like Rajasthan and Punjab have seen a growth at 75%+ and 60%+ levels respectively (as per BARC data for Week 14) which is a huge surge,” says Prathyusha Agarwal, Chief Consumer Officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
Notably, Hindi GEC growth in HSM was largely fuelled by Doordarshan bringing back legendary shows like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. On the pay platform, viewership growth in Week 15 over Week 14 for non-prime-time was 13% and 15% for prime-time. Without Doordarshan, this was 5% for both prime-time and non-prime-time. Growth in HSM for non-prime-time without DD in Week 15 over Pre-COVID-19 was 42% for pay platform and 85% for free platform.
Advertiser count for Ramayana went up by 14 times from 3 to 42 advertisers and Mahabharat went by 12 times from 2 to 24, respectively. Daily FCT was around 1900 to 2000 seconds across both programmes.
MOVIES ON A HIGH
The Movies genre continues to grow with large gains coming from Metros and Tier I cities as compared to smaller cities and rural India. Highest viewership growth was witnessed from the mega cities (88%), while the growth rate for the movie genre in Rural India was at 62%. BARC’s observation suggests that growth in Movie viewership is coming largely from pay platforms across Urban and Rural markets with 82% and 69% growth, respectively.
KIDS CATEGORY JUMPS
Since the lockdown started in March, the summer vacation period for kids got a little advanced and kids’ content saw an absolute jump across all segments. For Television, the kids’ genre viewership grew by 28% in Urban and 50% in Rural markets.
“In the 2-14 TG, the Kids genre has grown by 39%, where the Nickelodeon franchise has witnessed 43% growth in ratings. The Nick franchise has witnessed exponential growth across geographies with a 33% in Urban, HSM market has grown by 32%, Metros by 26% and South by 62%,” says Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head - Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18.
CO-VIEWING A HIT
One observation that came out from the BARC-Nielsen viewership report for Week 15 was that kids are co-viewing other content, for example news, with their parents and vice versa. So the consumption is not only deeper but on a wider level. People are actually exploring, going from one show to another. Hence the catalogue being consumed is a lot wider. “The lockdown has also resulted in increased viewership in the morning hours between 9 am to 2 pm in the afternoon in the Kids category. Co-viewing of 15+ TG has also witnessed 38% growth in the Kids category during this time as families are watching TV together,” adds Jaipuria.
NCCS A HAS SEEN THE HIGHEST VIEWERSHIP GROWTH DURING COVID-19 PERIOD ACROSS URBAN AND RURAL MARKET
‘We treat all day as prime-time for the English movies genre’
“News plays a critical role during this adversity and we at Times Network have kept an unwavering focus in empowering our viewers with accurate and verified news through our campaign ‘Fighting Fear With Facts’. On English movies genre, that has seen a significant rise in viewership, we are treating all day as prime-time during the lockdown period and are scheduling blockbuster Hollywood content through the day. While prime-time continues to be the biggest peak, there has been significant growth in non-prime-time also, specially the afternoon band. This growth is across geographies and age groups.”
President - Strategy & Business Head, English Entertainment Cluster, Times Network
‘Since more people watched the channel, we could grow much faster’
“According to BARC data, four out of five of our channels have been number 1 in terms of viewership. Real growth has been witnessed for our channel TV9 Bharatvarsh. Market-share for the channel has more than doubled in the last five weeks from 4% to 8.7%. Apart from news viewership itself, what has worked for the channel is that we had changed the content, look and feel of the channel just before the lockdown. While we had to hold up our marketing plans on OOH and Radio, we focused on digital and television. Since more people could watch the channel at this time, we could effectively grow much faster.”
CEO, TV9 Network
THE AD SCENARIO
In terms of overall advertising, FCT (Free Commercial Time) on Television channels reduced from 25 million seconds in Week 13 in post COVID-19 period to 21 million seconds in Week 14, crawling back 7% to 22 million seconds in Week 15, showing a sign of revival.
“It is indeed paradoxical that in a scenario where broadcast and OTT platforms are witnessing a surge in viewership, only a few marketers are able to take up advertising, given the business scenario,” says Vanita Keswani, CEO Madison Media Sigma.
With only essentials being sold during the lockdown period, most advertisers are shying away from advertising. However, brands that are advertising are focusing predominantly on Movies, News and Kids genres. “More importantly, price points are being maintained and for solution-led advertising, value is not an issue. Having said that, with the lockdown relaxation being seen in a few areas, other genres are seeing traction as well,” says Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer - Advertisement Revenue, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
HINDI GEC IN HSM IS AT AN ALL TIME HIGH: 8.5 BN IMPRESSIONS
HSM Urban registers all time high viewership for 3 weeks in a row with 4.5 Bn Impressions in week 15
~35% OR MORE INCREASE IN TIME ON SOCIAL NETWORKING ACROSS CONSUMER GROUPS. 1 IN 5 SPEND MORE THAN AN HOUR / DAY
Social Networking accounts for 15% share of time on Smartphone
All social networking apps included. Top ones are Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Helo, Snapchat, Twitter
(Source: COVID-19 impact report by BARC, Nielsen)
‘Consumers are moving to their trusted news brands on TV, online’
“The COVID-19 lockdown has naturally triggered an increase in news viewing, which is definitely not a surprise given the fact that people want to know how this pandemic is impacting their schedules and life in general. The severe lockdown also means that consumers are moving to their trusted News brands on Television and online, spending their time staying updated and informed.”
CEO, Republic Media Network
‘30-40% uptake in our numbers compared to four weeks ago’
“Surge in television viewership is coming from all across. Viewership is about three to four times higher than a normal week when one would consume news content. Southern market, including Kerala is largely movie-driven. We’ve been fortunate to get a good 30% to 40% uptake in our numbers in comparison to four weeks ago. Good movie library and smart scheduling of content with comedy seems to be working along with sitcoms.”
Chief Operating Officer, MMTV
On whether advertisers will go for more space (ad volumes) at the same price (yield) or lower price for the same volumes post lockdown, Sehgal says, “In the post lockdown scenario, it will be difficult to generalize the price and volume equation, since different advertisers may have different plans and requirements. For example, we expect e-commerce may be the first off the block and would need higher ad volume and premium inventory, and therefore may be willing to pay healthy rates. As for FMCGs, in order to restore/increase their Share of Voice, they may need more ad volume as well but require some price discounts. It will all depend on how important and relevant the category is to the consumer. We expect durables such as fans, mobiles, ACs, coolers etc., and summer-focused categories to come back immediately, and it will depend on the ‘value’ offered, hence it is not just a price game.”
“As the crisis has led to disruption in product supply across many sectors, consumers are more likely to try new brands. If habits can change in 21 days, we are in it for a long haul and now is the time for marketers to increase their efforts and build back physical availability and not let go of mental availability, so that those consumers return to their favourite brands when they’re able to. Add to it that there cannot be a better time to advertise with very low clutter and media consumption at an all-time high,” says Shekhar Banerjee, Chief Client Officer & Head-West, Wavemaker India.
16% VISIT ANY NEWS PLATFORM MORE THAN 30 TIMES IN A WEEK
(Source: COVID-19 impact report by BARC, Nielsen)
COVID PERIOD VIEWING RESULTS IN A VERY STRONG GROWTH ACROSS ALL SEGMENTS OF OTTs
Syndicated Shows Includes shows from parent brand, which were not originally created for the OTT platform Original Series Content that is tagged as original or exclusive on the platform
(Source: COVID-19 impact report by BARC, Nielsen)
‘We saw 29% increase in total TV consumption in South in Week 15’
“With an increase in the total TV consumption in the southern region by 29% in Week 15 as compared to the pre-COVID-19 period as per BARC, our revised programming strategy catering to viewers across ages has worked successfully. An increase in viewership growth of 56% from non-prime-time from the South market comes as a surprise. Considering the lockdown, people are home throughout the day, spending more time on their Television, which has further led to an increase in viewership of movies as well.”
Head - Regional TV Network, Viacom18
‘Nostalgia rules; our movies catalogue ensured a sharp rise in growth rate’
“During this lockdown period, OTT consumption has grown manifold, and there is a surge in the last 3-4 weeks. Also, as reported by App Annie, Eros Now has seen a 78% proliferation on daily users; further, headline matrix of paid subscriptions and time spent have also increased drastically. Movies have been a significant contributing factor of overall time spent on the platform. Also, we have noticed nostalgia as a trend that has surfaced where consumers are viewing old evergreen and cult films. Our catalogue offering of over 12,000 movies has helped us see a sharp rise in growth rate, which is beyond our expectation, and we are climbing the curve, quicker.”
Chief Executive Officer, Eros Now
‘FMCG essentials brands can use this time to really build brand trust’
“It is indeed paradoxical that in a scenario where broadcast & OTT platforms are witnessing a surge in viewership, limited marketers are able to take up advertising, given the business scenario. Broadcasters are willing to make it easier by offering certain price benefits. Digital auction-based buys are cheaper due to lower demand. Newer content offerings are being churned by OTTs to add value to the consumer - such as kids content, games, fitness and spiritual. Some Radio players are opening up their platform for marketers to convey social cause messaging. Some of the top categories that are advertising are Health & Pharma, Media & Entertainment, Edutech, FMCG Essentials and BFSI. Each of these are riding on the current consumer sentiment and demand, be it the need for health and sanitation, entertainment, financial security, or knowledge. FMCG essentials brands can use this time to really build brand trust and think long term.”
CEO, Madison Media Sigma
‘No better time to advertise with media consumption at all-time high’
“As the crisis has led to disruption in product supply across many sectors, consumers are more likely to try new brands. If habits can change in 21 days, we are in it for a long haul and now is the time for marketers to increase their efforts and build back physical availability and not let go of mental availability, so that those consumers return to their favourite brands when they’re able to. Add to it that there cannot be a better time to advertise with very low clutter and media consumption at all-time high. My advice to marketers will be: 1. Don’t compromise on mental availability, consumers will not automatically flock back once supply opens up. 2. Optimize media - Need to tactically pivot towards more consumed platforms. It means change of TV genre and also digital platform mix. 3. Be original - there are still options to tell compelling fresh stories in such times and we are seeing some of the best work by brands. 4. Talk to your partners on the media side; they can create solutions which otherwise are not possible in normal times.”
Chief Client Officer & West Head, Wavemaker India
AUDIENCE-SCAPE FOR OTT VIEWERS AS IT STANDS TODAY..
75% USER PREFERENCE (BASIS TIME) IS STACKED BETWEEN MOVIES & SYNDICATED
‘Time spent on gaming is even higher than time spent on video’
“Our partnerships with movies, dubbed Hollywood movies are doing extremely well but what we did really well was our digital first web shows that we both produced, co-produced or actually had exclusive rights of. Time spent on gaming is even higher than time spent on video for us. Digital advertising is seeing growth because there are certain categories that are organically wanting to advertise more. For example, media and entertainment platforms, largely other OTT and other social media platforms, are leveraging us as we have a very unique user base, different from all the others.”
Viraj Jit Singh
SVP & Head-Revenue, MX Player
‘Installs jumped to 2.5 times the earlier number during lockdown’
“Our daily number of installs is coming in organically, that is, people searching for Voot Kids and installing it, jumped immediately to twice its earlier number as this lockdown period began. Now, in the last 40-45 day period, it has stabilized to 2.5 times the daily average of pre-lockdown. But more interestingly than these installs, subscription to this application has jumped six times on a daily level. The time spent on the platform per user per day is about 90 minutes, both on mobile and on TV.”
Business Head, VOOT Kids
‘FMCG is the largest contributor on Digital platforms as well’
“There is a sharp increase in data usage since the lockdown has been announced and a multifold jump in downloads/consumption of OTT content apps. Strong growth trends on OTT platforms might not be able to offset the loss of existing high-value advertisement on traditional TV. Nevertheless, TV has the highest reach across mediums and will continue to attract audiences. Past trends have not shown any adverse impact on TV advertising, and it has recorded 10% CAGR over CY16-CY19. Although FMCG is the largest advertiser on TV, it has been increasing spends on digital platforms as well. FMCG is now the largest contributor on Digital platforms as well. We believe that 33% of TV advertisers will be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and will see a delayed comeback. Along with this, local advertisers across platforms will take longer to come back.”
VP- Research, Emkay Global