2020 was an overwhelming year, and it kind of showed a trailer to what dooms-year would be like. It was unparalleled and so unexpected that it’s almost a year and most of us are still processing March 2020 – ‘the official beginning of COVID’.
The only good thing was for the media and entertainment industry that experienced sky high numbers in terms of viewership. India’s television measurement company and the world’s largest, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, launched the third edition of its Yearbook titled The Year After Two Thousand & Nineteen on 1 March offering an amalgamation of exclusive insights and extensive data on What India Watched in 2020.
The report also consisted of trends across the pandemic struck months with a special focus on four distinct phases – Pre-COVID, COVID: During Lockdown, COVID: Unlock, and Year Ender. The pandemic forced people to stay homebound since 25 March, 2020, which eventually made viewers turn to their favourite mode of entertainment and news – Television.
TV played a significant role in keeping people connected with the outside world during the lockdown. Consequently, TV Viewership witnessed a growth of 23 per cent during Mid-March to June (Week 11 to 26) as compared to the January to early March period (Week 1 to 10). Even other sectors – GEC, Movies and even Kids saw a substantial rise in viewership numbers.
Commenting on the launch of the yearbook, BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla said, “2020 was a consolidation and reaffirmation year for television in India. It was marked by a substantial increase in TV viewership with total TV growing by 9 per cent and Ad Volumes experiencing a staggering growth of 34 per cent in the second half. 2020 reaffirmed the strength of television as a medium in India amongst both viewers and advertisers, proving TV is indeed the screen of choice for the household. TV continues to grow with regional markets gaining prominence. BARC India will continue to work towards our vision, to always be the trusted source of authentic measurement and reporting of “What India Watches’.”
The otherwise turbulent year witnessed a whopping increase in the Kids genre by 27 per cent (74 billion viewing minutes in 2020 compared to 58 billion viewing minutes in 2019), contributing to 7 per cent genre share that remained consistent throughout the year except peaking to 9 per cent during the initial phase of lockdown.
However, the Ad volumes in this category saw a dip and was only 3 per cent (47 mn secs) in terms of genre share compared to 2019 (50 mn secs).
Non-Prime-Time (NPT) emerged as the new Prime-time as most TV viewing as well as co-viewing happened during that period with the family members staying home. Viewership for Kids grew by 31 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, while total TV viewership rose from 51 per cent (2019) to 53 per cent in 2020. NPT share to full day in 2020 rose to 74 per cent compared to 73 per cent in 2019.
With live-action shootings being stalled and lack of new original content, Doordarshan played its trump card and re-ran hit shows like Ramayan, Mahabharat, Shaktimaan, Shri Krishna and more, experiencing its viewership numbers skyrocket and surpass its peers. Kids also contributed to this viewership apart from the Motu Patlus and Rudras as they co-viewed these shows along with their parents who relived childhood and even grand-parents.
The sector also saw a significant rise of 7 per cent (from 55.4 bn viewing minutes to 59.1 bn viewing minutes) in Genre-wise weekly report.
During lockdown, the kids genre experienced a significant 45 per cent growth in viewership over the same period in 2019 as summer vacations arrived earlier for them with schools and other educational institutes closing to contain the spread. Limited or restricted outdoor activities, even going out to parks and meeting friends remained stalled, hence entertainment was the only option left, and content that provided, soared higher. During unlock it saw a 46 per cent growth with 81 bn viewing minutes as schools remained closed.
And lastly, during the year ender the kids sector grew by 9 per cent from 60.3 bn viewing minutes in 2019 to 65.9 bn viewing minutes in 2020. Ad Volumes also saw an increase of 21 per cent in 2020 compared to its preceding year in this time span.
The genre share witnessed an ebb and flow at different phases of the pandemic: Pre-COVID, COVID lockdown, COVID Unlock, and Year Ender with 6.7 per cent, 8 per cent, 7.7 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively.
Availability of kids content in local languages (original and dubbed) has been a prime driver of viewership for the genre over the years which soared higher during the pandemic. Content dubbed in Bangla or Bengali witnessed a striking 194 per cent change in 2020 over 2019. All India, market wise performance of the kids sector grew 27 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 with west Bengal contributing 76 per cent change followed by Odisha and Telangana.