Television

Overall increase in media consumption on account of COVID-19: Kantar study

Whatsapp sees 40 per cent increase in usage

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MUMBAI: As the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in media consumption across all in-home channels, says a study by data, insights and consulting company Kantar.

The study finds that WhatsApp is the social media app that has experienced the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected. Overall, the popular chat app has seen a 40 per cent increase in usage.

In later stages of the pandemic, web browsing increased by 70 per cent, followed by an increase in (traditional) TV viewing by 63 per cent. Social media engagement increased by 61 per cent over normal usage rates.

The largest global study into consumer attitudes, media habits and expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic surveyed more than 25,000 consumers across 30 markets. The first wave of COVID-19 Barometer research provides brand owners with clear direction on how to ensure their brands stay connected to their customers during the pandemic crisis.

Key findings of the study are:

Media habits

Across all stages of the pandemic, WhatsApp is the social media app that is experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected. In the early phase of the pandemic, its usage increased 27 per cent.

Spain experienced a 76 per cent increase in time spent on WhatsApp. Overall Facebook usage has increased 37 per cent. China experienced a 58 per cent increase in usage of local social media apps including Wechat and Weibo.

Increased usage across all messaging platforms has been biggest in the 18-34 age group. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a 40 per cent+ increase in usage from under 35-year olds. 

There is a crisis in trust. Traditional nationwide news channels (broadcast and newspaper) are the most trusted sources of information with 52 per cent of people identifying them as a ‘trustworthy’ source. Government agency websites are regarded as trustworthy by only 48 per cent of people, suggesting that government measures are not providing citizens around the world with assurances and security.  Also reflecting the loss of trust from recent election cycles, social media platforms are regarded by only 11 per cent of people as a source of trustworthy information

Expectations of Brands

There is very little expectation that brands should stop advertising with only eight per cent of respondents identifying it as a priority for brands. As many brands consider ‘going dark’ to save costs, Kantar estimates that a six-month absence from TV will result in a 39 per cent reduction in total brand communication awareness, potentially delaying recovery in the post-pandemic world.  

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