homeadvertising NewsHow COVID 19 outbreak has impacted media and advertising industry

How COVID-19 outbreak has impacted media and advertising industry

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By Shibani Gharat  Apr 1, 2020 5:45:15 PM IST (Published)

COVID-19 disruption has brought out TV news and digital as champions as the country deals with the 21-day lockdown. TV news showcased a 57% growth in viewership at all India level. The growth showcased across all major languages.

As India grapples with a new way of life -- with social distancing and work-from0home becoming a norm -- it is impossible to not see the impact of all of this on media consumption. Over the last few weeks, social distancing, and staying at home has had a significant effect on media consumption across the country.
Demand for content on both TV and digital spiked during COVID-19 disruption period and advertisers remain upbeat about the two mediums.
According to BARC-Nielsen data, total TV consumption grew by 8 percent across India during COVID-19 disruption period.
This data further revealed that Indians are spending more time on TV to watch news, GECs (general entertainment channels) and movies. These three genres have contributed the most in the spike in viewership on TV during COVID-19 week, which is the week starting March 14.
In terms of viewership, TV news saw 57 percent growth in viewership across India and the growth was witnessed across all major languages.
The daily average reach of the news genre on TV grew by 34 percent, highest amid all categories.
"Television is the screen of the households and under these circumstances, household is glued to TV," says Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India. "The audience, they don't have anywhere else to go. What do you have surprisingly is even kids are watching news. So there is big growth in news. The consumers trust the news which is on TV. They know it is credible. Hence, they are watching it continuously," he adds.
In fact, Network18 channels recorded a 50 percent growth in average daily reach during week 1 of the COVID-19 outbreak. During the same period, Network18 reached out to more than 10 crore TV viewers on a daily basis.
One growth factor is that news is the only medium which is producing new content.
But on the other side when it comes to General Entertainment channels or GECs there is no fresh content. The production of new episodes has stopped leaving GECs with no choice but to play repeats of their old shows.
Mediums such as Radio and OHH have also taken a hit due to lack of adequate drive time on the roads, print is facing a massive distribution problem and cinemas are shut. In this scenario, digital has emerged as a shining star.
As a part of Comscore's ongoing investigation into the COVID-19 and its impact on the media and advertising industry around the world, they recently released a study focusing on key areas of digital consumption.
As per the insights from this study, in India, compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020 visits to websites and mobile apps in the 'General News' category increased by 61% in the week of March 16-22, 2020. However, most of the increase occurred recently: compared with the week of March 9-15, 2020, visits went up by 50% during the week of March 16-22, 2020.
Also, the study states how as financial markets fluctuated with the spread of the pandemic, the reach of, and engagement with, digital content within the 'Business News' category have surged. The number of unique visitors increased by 22% between the weeks of March 9-15, 2020 and March 16-22, 2020, while the increase in total visits was 34%, and total minutes increased by 27%.
Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, Madison World, feels that from an environment standpoint, it is a good time for advertisers to use digital.
"The number of people who are there on the online space have increased. Today, a large percentage of digital advertising that is bought is bought on biddable platforms. So if there is going to be more audience out there, you can actually lower your big price and you can target better, you can geographically go to various places plus you can get the audience for a lower cost per thousand than you are used to."
But many experts feel that since big spenders such as FMCG are dealing with distribution crisis owing to countrywide lockdown, there is not much to advertise. But would it be the right time to build brands on platforms that are watched and followed so extensively?
"If you have some good messages, it is a great time to advertise because people are receptive," says Sakhuja. He is also of the opinion that it's also a great time for a brand to build trust.
Now, Over the Top or OTT platforms have also seen a spike in the viewership. But way forward is it going to be a smooth ride for video streaming platforms as producers are delaying the release of their new films and their originals are also lagging as the content production industry has canceled all the shoots?
Ashish Pherwani, Partner and Media & Entertainment Leader, EY India feels it is time for OTT players and producers to rethink.
"We are seeing that there are so many movies that got produced last year which never got a release. And we see a lot of value in that library now," Pherwani says.
He adds that this trend has in fact started last year but there might be a chance of many digital-first releases by producers this year. "But, many big producers will still be waiting for a big theatrical release first."
But even as overall viewership and audience has spiked, the industry faces uncertainty from a fall in advertising revenues.
All the major media planning agencies are revising their ad spend forecast which was predicted between 10% to 11% for 2020 to single digits and are unsure of when the situation will crawl back to normal.
"Everyone is fighting a battle of survival. The first focus is on safety and getting through this period in a proper way. You are going to be geared up for comeback but it will comeback only very slowly," says Ashish Bhasin, CEO APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network.
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