Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the rating star during India's lockdown. An 81-slide deck presented by Nielsen and Broadcast Audience Council (BARC) shows Modi's Independence Day event cornered 4.64 billion viewing minutes on television.
This was 29 per cent higher than the viewing of 3.59 billion minutes in 2018 and 41 per cent higher than 3.28 billion in 2019. Modi's audiences stayed despite his telecast this year totalling 152 minutes which was longer than the 150 minutes in 2018 and 126 minutes in 2019.
It wasn't just the minutes. The domination extends to people watching: 133 million tuned in this year compared with 121 million in 2018 and 109 million in 2019.
The ratings organisation, considered "currency" among media stakeholders, mapped viewing from 195 TV channels this year. IANS has reviewed the 11th edition of the report, presented by BARC chief Sunil Lulla, on August 27.
Modi mania flowed into the six addresses made on Covid-19 as well as the one on July 3 to Army jawans at Leh. The first address on Covid-19, on March 19, was viewed by 83 million people for 1.275 billion minutes.
This went up more than 2x on March 24, when 197 million tuned in and spent 3.86 billion minutes listening to the PM. Numbers dropped sharply in Telecast Number 3 on April 3, but then the fourth and fifth addresses, on April 14 and May 12, interested an even larger audience - 203 and 193 million viewers and 3.92 billion and 4.25 billion minutes respectively.
If numbers plummeted in address number 6 on June 30 with 42 million viewers watching for 0.44 billion minutes, the change of locale at Leh on July 3 didn't do much either: 29.2 million viewers, just one-seventh of the blockbuster April 14 speech on Lockdown 2.0, interested TV viewing audiences. Viewing minutes were down even sharper at 0.31 billion.
The saga didn't end with his lockdown speech making. Bhoomi Poojan at Ayodhya, UP, the ground-breaking ceremony of a Ram Temple in which Modi presided, trumped everything else. Though the show, involving Modi seated in silent prayer for most parts, went on the longest - from 10:41 hours to 14:11 hours - it racked up 7.3 billion viewing minutes from 163 million viewers spread over 198 TV channels.
Modi's punitive action against 50 plus Chinese apps crashed them from 81 percent to 25 per cent from pre-Covid times in the numbers released on India's smartphone public square.
On the business side, the halting return of live sporting action and original content led sport-heavy advertisers like Hero, Samsung, Byju's, Tata Motors, ITC, Skoda, Prime Video, Apple, Maruti Suzuki to dominate the spends.
Streaming on smartphones, the panel tracks 12,000 Android devices, is dropping from peak lockdown levels. Work from home video conferencing is up 12x in terms of percentage of users and 6x in time spent. Usage of home delivery apps is on a high, even as trust issues dominate the grim narrative on restaurant food.
Here, deceased actor Sushant Singh Rajput trumped the biggies. When stacked basis week 1 of their direct release on Amazon Prime, Hotstar, MX (Player Online), Netflix, Voot and Zee5, Singh's Dil Bechara released on Disney Plus and Hotstar beat Khuda Haafiz, Lootcase, Shakuntala Devi, Yatra, Virgin Bhanupriya and Gunjan Saxena.
Among syndicated series, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai on Disney Plus and Hotstar dominated the sweepstakes of unique audiences during July 25 and August 21; Anupama, RadhaKrishn, Yeh Rishte Hain Pyaar Ke and Kasauti Zindagi Ke came next, interestingly all five from the Disney Plus-Hotstar stable. Mahabharat, Size Matters, Kavita Bhabhi had the first three slots during June 6 and Jul 3. Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai was at No.4 before it picked up from July 25. The panel encompassed Android smartphones representing 1L+, NCCS ABC, 15-44.
In the US, Nielsen pointed that video streaming in 2020 is 25 percent of total TV usage among streaming-capable homes. This is up from 16 per cent in 2019. One-fourth of the streaming this year is from folks who are 55 years plus. That's a 37 per cent increase in their contribution.
(Nikhila Natarajan is on Twitter @byniknat)
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