It’s all-day primetime for Times Network’s English movie channels during lockdown

English movie channels witnessed 83 per cent viewership growth in week 13

MUMBAI: In the third week of lockdown due to COVID-19, Indians decided that they had had enough news and turned to movies for a refreshing change. While Hindi and regional movie channels gained big, English movie channels saw an 83 per cent rise in viewership in week 13 in 2020, according to the BARC-Nielsen report.  

Times Network English entertainment cluster president - strategy and business head Vivek Srivastava says: “Overall TV viewership has seen a 45 per cent increase during this lockdown period. News and movies have been the two most-watched genres. Movies have exhibited almost 80 per cent growth. Times Network’s English entertainment brands had adapted to the new tariff order (NTO) very well and we barely lost any eyeballs. However, post the implementation of the NTO, few players lost significant viewership, and it is heartening to see that during this lockdown, the category is seeing resurgence and that’s a positive sign.”

During the ongoing lockdown, the network is treating the whole day as primetime and is scheduling blockbuster Hollywood content throughout the day. Some of the big titles include The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spiderman Franchise, Despicable Me 3, Cars 3, Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, Ant-Man, Creed 2, Vice, etc.

Srivastava informs that primetime is still the biggest peak, but there has been significant growth in non-primetime as well, especially the afternoon band. However, advertising has declined during the lockdown period. “That is primarily because of the unavailability of products across most categories and the inability of consumers to step out of their homes during this period. We expect a slowdown till the lockdown remains,” he adds.

While some advertisers have stopped advertising, those less affected are using it for brand building. For them, the movie genre presents a good opportunity. “We continue to see advertising from BFSI, a few brands in automobiles, e-commerce, consumer durables, and FMCG categories,” he says.

On the company front, Srivastava says that the Times Network was one of the first broadcasters to adopt a work-from-home system even before the nationwide lockdown was announced. “This was a result of our foresight and preparedness to ensure seamless BCP by equipping our teams with necessary technological services, increased internet bandwidth, collaborative IT tools for meetings and discussions for executing work requirements seamlessly,” he says.

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