COVID-19 boon: News channels show 300% viewership growth

Prime time consumption saw a rise of 250 per cent

MUMBAI: The lockdown amid COVID-19 may adversely impact businesses, but it has helped the television industry, especially the news segment, to achieve a new high in terms of viewership, says a report released by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) and Nielsen on crisis consumption.

According to the report, news genre has clocked around 300 per cent increase in terms of viewership across the general category (English, Hindi and regional). Whereas, the business news channels in both Hindi and English languages have risen by 180 per cent in viewership.

The report also points out that while the primetime consumption of news across the country has surged by over 250 per cent, non-prime time news slot saw a rise of 344 per cent in terms of viewership. However, perhaps, for the first time, there has been a drop of over 15 per cent in viewership in general entertainment channels during the primetime slot.

Be it prime time or non-prime time, the overall growth of news channels across languages have seen a substantial rise of over 20 per cent from 7 per cent during the Covid-19 lockdown, mentions the report.

These growth figures of news channels and all other genres are recorded in week 12 of BARC (21-27 March) when compared with week two and four of BARC (11-31 January).

The country is grappling with the rising COVID-19 pandemic. During these testing times, people are consuming more news than any other genre because it keeps them updated about the virus menace and other related information such as the number of cases, do’s and don’ts and various governments’ initiative to curb the pandemic.

Many tech events, sports matches, shootings of films and television shows have stopped and the whole content generation process has come to a standstill, except for the news genre, which has been coming up with Covid-19-related content on a time-to-time basis, as it has been kept under the essential services list.

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