Are GECs set to see a surge in viewership in COVID-19 Week 2?

Most broadcasters are bringing back popular shows as part of their strategy to beat the current slide

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 8:38 AM

The TV viewership numbers for the first week of COVID-19 (March 14 to 20, 2020) have been predictably high because of the stay at home and work from home advisories in place. However, a closer look at the figures reveal that the GEC category has seen a minimal rise of 1% in terms of impressions.

In the same category, the daily average reach has seen a 6% increase, whereas the daily average time spent has declined by 5%. The data for the period released by BARC clearly indicates that consumers are spending more time on news channels, along with those catering to movies and kids content. While news saw 57% increase in impressions and 34% increase in daily average reach, the movie genre witnessed a jump of 14% in impressions and 10% increase in daily average reach, whereas the kids genre saw 33% increase in impressions and 20% increase in daily average reach. 

The numbers for GECs could be tad better in the second week but they are likely to fall again due to dearth of fresh content, said industry experts. With shooting being put on halt across the board, GEC channels are likely to bank on repeat telecasts.

Sharing further insights into the trend was Karan Taurani, VP, Research Analyst (Media), Elara Capital: “The shift from GEC to news has been big as a people have been watching news because of the nature of the event. Hopefully, in the weeks to come impressions of GECs could go upto 5-6%.”

The idea to bring back iconic TV serials like Mahabharat and Ramanyan is bound to see a surge in impressions for Doordarshan, added Taurani. Other channels in the GEC category are strategizing on similar lines, said a senior analyst on the condition of anonymity.

“News and movies genres are growing in a big way. Almost all GECs are revising their content strategies, but what happens once the fresh content is exhausted. That remains to be seen,” the analyst added.

Throwing light on why the reach of TV has been strengthened more than ever was Prathyusha Agarwal, Chief Consumer Officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. “We have constantly believed and reiterated the strong connection that television brings to our lives and the role it has in bringing together family members from all age groups. With our vast repertoire of the best of content across our channels, we are determined to ensure our shows act as the primary glue to hold families and societies together during this period of social distancing.”

ZEE has been airing new finite series shows during the Prime Time (9-11 pm) exclusive band with Pyaar Vyaar Originals. The network is also bringing back the most loved shows from its library - ‘Kasamh Se’ on Zee TV and ‘Sambhaji’ on Zee Marathi.

&TV has also lined up curated specials of their comedy hits along with inspirational and devotional content.

Colors too has released its programming line-up with a mix of current and popular shows like Belan Wali Bahu, Bhaag Bakool Bhaag, Vidya, Choti Sarrdaarni, Shakti…Astitva Ke Ehsaas Kii, Barrister Babu, Shubharambh and Naati Pinky Ki Lambi Love Story and even Bigg Boss 13. Sony Entertainment Television has also brought back its old shows like CID and Aahat.

Predicting a reverse trend, the analyst also said that once the fatigue in terms of news consumption sets in viewers are likely to go back to GECs or other genres.

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