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Revival of ads on TV after unlock in June, says BARC and Nielsen Media report

Among other things, the report on ‘Crisis consumption on TV and smartphones’ - Edition 10 says total TV viewership is up by 9% as compared to first half of 2019; consumption of social network and gaming higher than pre-Covid level

BARC India and Nielsen Media have jointly released the 10th Edition of ‘Crisis consumption on TV and smartphones’ report, explaining the ‘Impact of Covid-19 on TV viewership and smartphone behaviour across India’.

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BARC India

Nielsen Smartphone Panel


All India (Urban + Rural)

All India (Urban 1 lakh plus)


All NCCS 2+ years

            1.          NCCS ABC 15-44 years

            2.         Android smartphone users

Time period

Pre Covid  - 11th Jan 2020- 31st Jan 2020

Pre-Covid13th Jan 2020 - 2nd Feb 2020

Some of the key highlights of TV and smartphone consumption are as follows:

  1. Total TV viewership in H1 2020 is 9% higher than 2019.
  2. Total number of advertisers on TV in H1 2020 is 10% lower than H1 2019.
  3. With the onset of ‘unlock’ in June 2020, there is revival of advertising on TV – significant increase in the presence of ‘top 10’ and ‘next 40’ in June 2020.
  4. TV viewership share for movies, news and kids increased in H1 2020 vs. H1 2019. Share of GEC declined from 49% to 46% due to no original programming during lockdown period.
  5. In Week 26, total TV viewership recorded 1 trillion viewing minutes (15% higher than pre-Covid). Smartphone consumption, after a peak during lockdown phase 2, has gradually dipped to 17.2 Bn minutes but is still 7% higher as compared to pre-Covid.
  6. On TV, recent weeks show growth in primetime viewership – more pronounced in South than HSM (due to return of original programming). However, the levels still lower than pre-Covid.
  7. On smartphones, social networking and gaming show higher consumption than pre-Covid levels, whereas VOD (video-on-demand) mirrors the pre-lockdown levels.
  8. With the country opening up gradually, categories such as shopping and mobile payments have seen a revival, especially among 25+ yrs.
  9. Cab aggregators in metros and travel planners in tier I towns show a good revival post Unlock 1.
  10. Chinese apps saw a drop in usage after the Galwan attack with the government’s ban acting as the last nail in the coffin.

BARC India is the official currency on Television Measurement in India and Nielsen Media runs a 12,000 strong smartphone panel in India passively capturing smartphone behaviour.

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