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Viewership of English movies genre has returned to pre-NTO levels: Vivek Srivastava

English language content has gained the maximum traction post the lockdown. Total impressions for English entertainment channels have grown by 92 per cent during the lockdown period over the pre-lockdown period, according to BARC India. To gain perspective, Hindi entertainment channels grew by 62 per cent during the same period.

Source: BARC data | 15-50 AB | India 10L+ | Pre-Lockdown: Wk 51’19 – 10’20; Post Lockdown: Wk 12-15’20 | All Days; 24 Hrs | Growth % on Impressions | Screen: TV | SD+HD Channels)

The movies genre has seen the 2nd highest growth during the lockdown period at 82 per cent, following news genre at 222 per cent, for obvious reasons.

Source: BARC| 15-50 AB| India 10L+| Pre-Lockdown: Wk 51’19 – 10’20; Post Lockdown: Wk 12-15’20| All Days;24 Hrs| Growth % on Impressions| Screen: TV| SD+HD Channels

Within the movie genre, English movies have done exceptionally well. Vivek Srivastava, President – Strategy & Business Head – English Entertainment Cluster at Times Network, observes, “The English movies genre has seen a growth of 94 per cent, which is the second largest growth compared to any other category. It is a tad higher than Hindi movies (87 per cent) and second only to news.”

He adds, “Viewership of English movies genre has returned to pre-NTO levels, maybe a little higher. Post NTO implementation, while our channels lost very little viewership, a few channels in the genre lost a significant number of their viewers, resulting in a 30 per cent category drop. Good news is not only us but other players have also seen surge in viewership and are close to the pre-NTO mark.”

Source: BARC | 15-50 AB| India 10L+| Pre-Lockdown: Wk 51’19 – 10’20; Post Lockdown: Wk 12-15’20 | All Days;24 Hrs| Growth % on Impressions| Screen: TV| SD+HD Channels

According to BARC-Nielsen report on Crisis Consumption for Week 15, non-primetime is still the driver for TV viewership growth. Non-primetime viewership saw 79 per cent growth during the lockdown period.

Source: BARC data for Viewing Minutes Mn, India, 2+, Week 15 (week starting 11 April), Week 14 (week starting 4 April), Pre Covid i.e. Week 2 to Week 4 (11 Jan to 31 Jan)

Srivastava, who heads leading English channels Movies Now, Romedy Now, MN+ and MNX, shares that “the growth in viewership has been across segments and pop strata. Obviously, there is a slight skew towards the metro and 0.1-1 million markets, but even the sub 0.1 million markets have shown a significant amount of growth.”

Times Network’s movie channels have been leaders in the English entertainment category for the past year. The network continues to lead the category during the lockdown period, claims Srivastava.

“The genre at All India level has seen an influx of 13.6 million new viewers in this period,” he informs.

He further says, “Movie viewership was very much concentrated in prime time with 7 pm, 9 pm and 11 pm being the mainstay. During the lockdown period, while the primetime viewership has shown an increase, the non-primetime has also increased significantly. Slots like 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm are performing well in non-primetime.”

While these growth metrics are great for English language content broadcasters, will these numbers last once the Lockdown ends?

Srivastava believes there will be a staggered dip in viewership. According to him, “The lockdown will be relaxed in phases. My sense is it will take time before public places, malls, restaurants, etc., open up. I see a slight dip in non-prime viewership post-lockdown. But primetime, which is the mainstay of English viewership, will sustain.”


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