Overall free commercial time (FCT) in India grew 7% in week 15, or April 11-27, compared with the previous week covering April 4-10, according to the latest data from Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India and Nielsen.

The fifth edition of their joint report, entitled “The Crisis Consumption – Impact of COVID-19 on TV and Smartphone Behaviour Across India”, revealed that total viewership in week 15 (or week 5 of the coronavirus disruption) registered 40% growth over the pre-COVID period of January 11-31.

TV consumption in India now stands at 1.24 trillion minutes, the increase being led by both reach and average time spent, while the proportion of individuals watching TV for all seven days has jumped to 48%.

Much of the TV viewership growth was led by consumption of news and movies, the report found, while Hindi GEC attained record viewership of 850 billion impressions in Hindi-speaking markets.

Turning to advertisers, BARC and Nielsen revealed that the total number of advertisers increased marginally to 1,021 in week 15 compared with 1,017 in week 14. But this was still way down on the advertiser count of 1,378 in pre-COVID January.

Meanwhile, the top ten advertisers – including the Indian government, Colgate, GSK and Hindustan Unilever – increased their inventory by 18% in week 15 over the previous week, while the next 40 increased theirs by 40%.

The report also examined smartphone usage and found content consumption on these devices increased by 10% since pre-COVID times to 3 hours, 40+ minutes a day.

Nearly 18% of that time was spent on messaging apps, 15% on social media apps, 14% on video-streaming apps, while gaming accounted for 10% of total time spent.

Finally, while overall digital ad volumes are declining, certain sectors have seen growth, including food and beverage (112%), gaming (148%) and media (125%).

Sourced from BARC, Nielsen, Financial Express; additional content by WARC staff