Independence Day event 2020 garnered 4.6 billion viewing minutes, the highest viewership in the last three years, according to recently released viewership data by Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC).
More viewers tuned in this year during the live event than August 15 of 2018 and 2019. This year's Independence Day event saw a growth of 29 percent and 41 percent as compared to events in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
While in 2018 the Independence Day event recorded 3.5 billion viewing minutes, the August 15 event in 2019 had recorded 3.2 billion viewing minutes.
Another event that recorded strong viewership on TV was the live telecast of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan, which garnered 7.3 billion viewing minutes. The event was viewed live by 163 million people.
The BARC data also pointed out that viewership growth on TV continues; however, it is lower than week 13 which is the week starting March 28.
Also, 307 million individuals watched TV on all seven days of week 33, which is the period between August 15 and 21.
Indians are also spending more time watching TV content. The BARC data noted that the average time spent between week 30 (period between July 25 and 31) and week 33 is six percent higher than the time spent in 2019 during the same period.
In week 33, average daily time spent stood at four hours and 17 minutes, 13 percent higher than pre-COVID period (January 11 to 31).
Another viewership trend witnessed since the unlocking is growth in viewership during primetime.
Between April and May, more Indians watched TV during non-primetime and primetime viewership was low.
However, primetime viewership currently is increasing both in Hindi Speaking Markets (HSM) and in southern markets. And non-primetime viewership has stabilised but is still higher than pre-COVID level.
General entertainment channels (GECs) are also seeing strong viewership as compared to April and May thanks to the return of original programming.
Share of GECs which was 52 percent in the pre-COVID period fell to 29 percent in week 14 (period between April 4 and 10). The share of GECs is once again at 52 percent as new content has started airing on TV.