Television

#9pm9mins sees lowest-ever viewership since 2015

PM Modi’s address also gained lower traction.

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MUMBAI: Prime minister Narendra Modi’s addresses to the citizens of India have been keenly watched in the last few weeks. Even as his address on 24 March, announcing the 21-day nationwide lockdown, got the highest ever views, his subsequent address on 3 April led to a low point for TV viewership.

On 3 April, PM Modi had urged people to demonstrate a collective will to fight COVID-19 by switching off all lights at home and lighting a lamp, candle or turning on the mobile phones’ flashlight on 5 April, Sunday, at 9 pm for nine minutes.

The third edition of BARC-Nielsen report studying viewership trends during lock says that TV viewership dropped by 60 per cent during these 9 minutes as compared to previous weeks. Additionally, the viewership during these nine minutes was the lowest ever since 2015.

“The decline started by 8.53 pm and came back to current trends only after 9.30 pm,” adds the report. 9 pm is considered as a primetime, even for a Sunday and so the viewership dip is staggering.

The latest address of PM Modi failed to achieve traction the way the first two addresses announcing Janta Curfew and 21-day lockdown, did.

“The prime minister’s 11-minute video message on #9PM9Minutes garnered over 1024.5 million viewing minutes. The Janta Curfew address (19 March) and 21-day lockdown (24 March) announcement achieved 1275.3 million and 3862.9 million viewing minutes respectively. Both the addresses were telecast for at least 30 minutes on almost all news channels..

As the media and entertainment industry has stopped generating fresh content, the only genre being kept under essential services - news channels - is able to show and update viewers about the pandemic with new content. This has helped news broadcasters to gain viewership exponentially by over 250 per cent for the third week straight, as per the report.

It is observed that viewers watch news on TV first thing post waking up and also sign off their day either by watching news or movies. 

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