Avinash Kaul on what keeps Network18 on top of the game amid Covid-19 crisis

The Covid-19 led disruption has started affecting India hard since last week. In a bid to understand the changes in consumption behaviour of TV and smartphones, BARC India and Nielsen is coming out with a series of industry reports. According to the report, the Covid-19 disruption period has seen an increase in television viewership – with 6 per cent increase in TV Reach and 8 per cent increase in TV viewing minutes per week. The time spent on TV per viewer has also seen a jump by 2 per cent. 

Not surprisingly, News genre has seen the most number of impressions, and along with Movies and Kids, is a key contributor to the growth in TV viewership. The News genre has recorded 57 per cent growth in impressions and 34 per cent growth in daily average reach. 

This behaviour is seen in digital consumption as well with News and Gaming showing huge increases. News apps saw 8 per cent more users per week with an increase of 17 per cent in time spent/ user/ week. This growth was led by non-English News apps (+87%). Meanwhile, Gaming apps saw an increase of 2 per cent in users/ week and with an 11 per cent increase in time spent/ user/ week. 

Commenting on the growth recorded by Television, Avinash Kaul, CEO – Television News, Network18, said, “In the wake of a total lockdown that has crippled print media delivery and which is majorly impacting Radio, Outdoor and Cinema industry data reveals that television has emerged a superstar, especially the news segment that has grown far higher that movies and general entertainment viewing.” 

As far as the findings of the report, especially pertaining to the News genre, are concerned, Kaul observed, “In the week disrupted by COVID-19, compared to the previous weeks, overall news viewership grew by 57 per cent. Non-Prime Time viewership in morning and afternoon has seen a big upward shift with most people relying on TV news in the absence of the morning newspaper routine as well as NCCS-A has seen a sharp growth of 11 per cent.” 

He particularly noted the fact that more women are watching television as the increase in their viewing minutes is more than men’s. Data also shows that the Prime Minister’s address on Lockdown was the biggest TV event ever – even bigger than IPL finals. According to the report, the Prime Minister’s address to the Nation on complete lockdown garnered unprecedented viewership of 197 million watching it across the country. 

“This trend keeps news network like ours on top of the game. Last week, Network18 channels’ daily average reach was 10 crores,” Kaul informed, adding, “With a reach of 7 crore people daily average in non-Covid-19 days and 70 crore annually across 15 languages in 26 states and a team of over 1,200 reporters who are using state-of-the-art technology amidst lockdown to bring the fastest and most accurate news, we at Network18 are committed to being the most credible source of information to our viewers.”


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