Covid-19 lockdown: English TV unlocks all the entertainment

Mumbai: Viewership of English movies and serials on TV has surged after the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25, with the genre making a comeback after losing market share last year when a new tariff regime was implemented for cable and satellite TV.

English movies registered a 91% increase in viewership for the week ended April 10 from the pre-lockdown period, while for English general entertainment channels, the figure was 41%, according to BARC India data sourced from subscribers.

“The lockdown has given a significant fillip to the English entertainment genre,” said Vivek Srivastava, president – strategy and business head, English entertainment cluster at Times Network.

He said that while Times Network channels continue to lead the genre, competition has grown considerably. “It is heartening to see that the competition is back in the reckoning. It will help grow the genre,” he said. Times Network is a part of BCCL, which publishes the Economic Times. The network aired Hollywood blockbusters including ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Thor Ragnarok,’ ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ ‘Spider Man’ and ‘Creed2’ during the lockdown.


English entertainment was also the only genre that recorded a 19% jump in advertising volumes during the period, while every other genre registered a fall. Srivastava said the category has created a lot of buzz and advertising will follow eyeballs.

Rival channels also banked on popular titles to win back viewership. Sony Pictures Networks aired franchise films like the Harry Potter series and the Jurassic Park series, apart from titles like ‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Batman vs Superman’ and ‘Justice League.’

Zee Entertainment Enterprises introduced back-to-back episodes of serials such as ‘MasterChef Australia’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on Zee Café, along with back-to-back movies. “This growth can be attributed to changing consumption preferences of the viewers in these solitary times. We have witnessed a trend in audience preferences towards light-hearted content, superhero flicks and adventure as a genre,” said Prathyusha Agarwal, chief consumer officer, ZEE.

Experts said the future looks promising for English entertainment even after the lockdown as TV viewership will continue to be high given that out-of-home entertainment options will take time to normalise.

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