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Key Findings of India's Changing Media Landscape during Lockdown

Apr 17, 2020 | Newspaper
India's Media Landscape during Lockdown

COVID-19, or Coronavirus as it is popularly called, is a pandemic that no one saw coming. Creating a paradigm shift in our day to day existence, the entire world is feeling the effects in all aspects of life. As we’re pushed to practice social distancing and home quarantine, certain habits have willed their way into existence and have become a regular part of life.

The most obvious of them all would be an unprecedented rise in screen time. While many are stuck at home, social media and increased digital activity were largely expected. News channels such as Aaj Tak and ABP News have also become ideal for advertisements due to their increase in popularity. However, there were many such changes in the entire media landscape that took us by surprise.

One such example is the resurgence of DD’s classics such as Buniyad and Mahabharata that is a major success. Other changes involve the use of ‘Live’ functions in social media apps that were not as popular before. TikTok has also seen a significant rise in usage. With new patterns emerging one after the other, let us dive deeper and see what changes have come into play.

New Media Habits and Trends Observed during March – April 2020

Latest Trends in Television

Television stood to gain during this time owing to its captive audience. The statistics revealed the highest ever TV viewing at 1.20 trillion minutes with 622 mn viewers watching TV daily for 4 hrs 40 minutes. However, not all channels stand to gain. Sports and GEC’s have suffered, giving that games are cancelled and production activities have been postponed. On the contrary, news channels such as the ABP News channel and Zee News channel have gained from this since timely, authentic information is the need of the hour.

Here are a few noticeable changes in terms of TV media consumption.

  • BARC recorded a growth of 298% in news consumption across languages
  • With a 37% spike in overall TV viewership, the share of news rose from 7% to 21%
  • Infotainment, movies and kids genre has grown by 63%, 56% and 39% respectively
  • 135% reach increased by DD1 during morning slots with reviving age-old classics
  • Zee Cine Awards and Discovery Tamil ensure reach as channels struggle for content

Latest Trends in Digital

Staying at home has led to the need for staying connected. Many are isolated from their loved ones and hence, digital media strives to bridge this gap. As per BARC reports, the time spent on smartphones has increased by almost 3 hours per week during COVID disruption. Whether a TikTok challenge or a live home workout by influencers, digital is now the only way that fosters interactivity with audiences.

Here are a few key trends that have come into existence.

  • Increased engagement with platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook
  • OTT platforms benefit largely with 53% growth fuelled by web shows and originals
  • Online delivery apps such as BigBasket and Grofers see a huge surge in demand
  • Cancellation of classes has fuelled ed-tech players such as Byju’s and Toppr
  • Online gaming record a 21% increase with time spent on gaming sites and apps

Latest Trends in Radio

Seen in the perspective of a near-obsolete medium, radio has shown a significant increase in listening time during the nationwide lockdown. Based on a study involving the top six metros in India, it was seen that this time jumped by 23% to 2.36 hours during the lockdown. Surprisingly, this is only second to television. People have renewed their faith in the medium as seen from the figures stated below.

Here are a few vital insights that can be seen in the context of radio.

  • AZ Research reported that 82% of people have tuned in to radio due to its credibility
  • Radio read out a credibility score of 6.27 with the internet at 6.44 and TV at 5.74
  • Radio’s at-home listenership rose by 22% with a sharp growth from 64% – 86%
  • FM channels are seen as the second most credible source of information
  • A listenership of 51 million was recorded which is close to TV’s 56 million

Quarantine and social distancing have become terms that are now known to all. What many are not aware of are the trends that they are actively shaping. Due to the lockdown, fresh and novel ways have come about to get through this difficult time. On the other hand, there are many who are using this time to their advantage. Whether it’s learning new skills or finally catching up with family, it is a time that has truly made us appreciate the things that we have.

Let’s make the most of this time together.

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