TV news channels benefited from the coronavirus lockdown, growing their viewership from 7.6 percent to 14.6 percent of viewership, according to the Broadcast Audience Research Council’s annual report.
Overall, TV viewership surged 18 percent during peak lockdown, and was 9 percent higher in 2020 compared to 2019, as per the BARC report. General entertainment channels also saw a rise with viewership, growing by 9 percent. Children watching more television as they were forced to remain at home while schools remained shut could be a factor adding to the growth in the viewership of entertainment channels.
During the unlock phase, as restrictions began to ease, the share of news dropped to 9.9 percent. By the end of 2020, it was down to 7.3 percent, settling at a lower growth rate for the entire year. Citing a TAM AdEX report, LiveMint said average ad volumes per day for the news genre grew 5 percent in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Non-prime time hours saw the biggest surge in TV views during 2020, according to BARC. Viewing for non-prime time for news in 2020 grew by 26 percent, for general entertainment channels by 16 percent, and for children’s channels by 31 percent as compared to the year before. The share of non-primetime viewing in total TV viewership grew from 51 percent in 2019 to 53 percent in 2020.