Regional news channels see sharp rise in viewership during Covid-19

Marathi news saw the highest growth with 101 per cent

MUMBAI:  There is a temporary shift in TV viewership patterns as Indians are forced to stay inside their homes due to the lock-down courtesy Covid-19, according to the latest BARC-Nielsen report. It shows that regional news channels are gaining viewership.

While Marathi news consumption was up by 101 per cent, that of Tamil grew by 84 per cent. While Oriya news consumption was up by 78 per cent, Malayalam and Bangla news consumption grew by 75 per cent each. 

While Gujarati news consumption witnessed a growth of 61 per cent, that of Kannada was up by 47 per cent. Whereas Telugu news consumption grew by 21 per cent, that of Punjabi was up by 16 per cent, and English news consumption grew by 39 per cent.

This is good news given that Hindi news dominates otherwise. Hindi news consumption was up by 62 per cent with the daily average time spent (ATS) up by 17 per cent. The daily average reach witnessed a growth of 34 per cent and the weekly impressions was up by 57 per cent.

The overall growth of the entire news industry was 57 per cent with daily average reach up by 34 per cent. Daily average time spent on total news is also up by 17 per cent.

With people clamouring for more information, news is the primary destination for a lot of Indians. Which is why prime minister Narendra Modi’s national address on 24 March addressing the country about the 21-day lockdown had 197 million viewers. They were watching the PM through 201 news channels with a total of 3891 million minutes of viewing.

It’s not only television where the news genre witnessed a huge increase in the viewership number; it grew on digital platforms as well. News apps saw eight per cent more users per week with an increase of 17 per cent in time spent per user per week. News websites were explored by 26 per cent more users. Additionally, the number of visits to a website by a user went up by 29 per cent. Clearly, all of them are seeking news on Covid-19.

There was a 30 per cent jump in the news consumption in mini-metros; metro cities witnessed 12 per cent growth whereas growth in tier I and tier II cities was up by 14 per cent. As per the BARC-Nielsen report, the top 20 news apps witnessed 30 per cent increase in time spent. News aggregators saw a growth of 22 per cent and news apps saw 76 per cent increase.

BARC also reported that even kids between the age group of two years to 14 years consumed 83 per cent of news. This is likely due to co-viewing with parents.

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