Coronavirus: 9 Facts That Proves the Pandemic Has Got India Glued to Their Screens Like Never Before Breaking all the records was Prime Minister Narendra Modi 21-day lockdown announcement which was watched by 197 million viewers

By Priyadarshini Patwa

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The nationwide lockdown to combat Covid-19 has turned everyone's life upside down. With no mode of entertainment and print newspapers in slow circulation, India has found its new companion.

The screen-time on tabs, TV, and phone screens have increased noticeably. Vision has become a source of information and entertainment. The lockdown has impacted every sector in India but is certainly a booster for television broadcasters. According to the latest BARC-Nielsen study on Covid-19 and its impact on TV and smartphone landscape, the time spent on it during week 1 of the pandemic has increased by 1.5 hours, a gain of 6 per cent.

The study revealed interesting statistics on what and how India is consuming virtual entertainment. While this might be a disaster for most of us, it is somewhere boosting the viewership for television and other online platforms.

Here are the key highlights:

Nielsen and BARC

1. Smartphone Consumption Time:

The time spent on it in the first week of the lockdown has increased by 1.5 hours from 23.6 hours in pre-Covid times to 24.5 hours post-Covid disruption.

Nielsen and BARC

2. Television Consumption Time:

The viewership in the country witnessed a rise of 8 per cent to 959 billion minutes per week. Viewing time for Television increased by over 70 billion minutes in India.


3. What Was India Watching:

News channels saw a 57 per cent growth and kids genre with 33 per cent growth. Movie channels grew by 14 per cent while general entertainment channels (GEC) hardly saw a percentage growth. While the English speaking channel dropped by 19 per cent, Hindi consumption grew by 7 per cent.

Nielsen and BARC

4. Younger Demographic Spending Time Watching News:

The people among 2-14 years age group recorded the highest increase in viewership by 20 per cent. It's also interesting to see that the same age group is also spending a lot of time watching news and movies.

Nielsen and BARC

5. The City Gets Active:

There has been a 22 per cent increase in viewership in the metropolitan cities. In Mumbai its 28 per cent growth and in Delhi its 22 per cent. The increase is special during the non-prime time (8:00-17:00) as people are working from home.


6. Covid-19 Hits Food, Travel and E-Commerce Hard:

The disease outbreak has hit travel tech, food tech, and retail drastically. Shopping apps/sites by 11 per cent dip in time spent by users, travel tech by 32 per cent dip in time spent per user per week and food ordering apps by 13 per cent dip in users and 21 per cent dip in user time per week.

Nielsen and BARC

7. Self Isolation Is Social Activation:

Consumers are more active on social media apps than before and spending more time online. The time increased by 25 per cent. The stats below show the time spent per user per week on different social media platforms like on Facebook by +23 per cent, TikTok by +20 per cent, Instagram by+25 per cent and Whatsapp by +27 per cent.

Nielsen and BARC

8. Breaking All The Records:

Making new records and breaking all was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On March 24 when PM Modi addressed to the nation and announced the 21-day lockdown, it was watched by 197 million viewers. The number makes it the biggest single event on TV so far.

Nielsen and BARC

9. The Hit and Miss:

Television and smartphones has become India's new favorite mate. The lockdown saw a huge increase in both TV and digital consumption.

The amount of time spent on social media also increased by a significant number. While e-commerce, travel, food saw a huge dip.

Priyadarshini Patwa

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur India

Priyadarshini Patwa is the Former Features Editors of Entrepreneur India and hosted an Instagram show every Friday named ‘Lighten Up’, about people from different walks of life and talk about their work and beyond. She handled the lifestyle, features, technology, entertainment segments and was also responsible for the Digital Covers. Previously she has worked with MensXP, a Times of India entity and Deccan Chronicle. 

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