Lockdown hikes TV viewing

Lockdown hikes TV viewing

Thais' average TV viewing time rose by half an hour last month as more people spend time at home.
Thais' average TV viewing time rose by half an hour last month as more people spend time at home.

Thais' average TV viewing time rose by half an hour last month as more people spend time at home, while the pandemic pushed down ad spending across media except the internet, says Nielsen, a measurement and data analytics firm.

"The quarantine and people working from home resulted in a significant increase in TV viewing in March," Runchita Srivoravilai, director of Nielsen Media Thailand, said during an online conference discussing the media situation.

Thais' average TV viewing time per day rose from 4.03 hours in early March to 4.31 hours late March, she said.

This coincided with a rise in reported Covid-19 infections and deaths. News about the government's response, product shortages and relief measures gained public interest.

The age group with the highest spike in TV ratings and average screen time per day was 4-14, up 32% with an additional 50 minutes per day on average watching TV.

Those aged 15-24 increased viewing 16%, while those aged 35-39 spent an additional 21 minutes per day on average watching TV.

The bulk of the audience was over 50 years old and this cohort spent an additional 20 minutes per day watching TV.

Ms Runchita said news content, drama/mini-series, feature films, light entertainment and international series all grew in viewership in March. Only sports programming saw a 33% drop.

She said digital media saw an increase in consumption in March, rising from 712 million views per week in early March to 994 million views in late March.

Livestreaming increased at noon, with similar growth to the prime time slot of 9-10pm.

Based on media spending in March, which was affected by the Covid-19 crisis, TV saw a drop of 2% year-on-year, outdoor/transit fell 11%, cinema plunged 44%, print declined 42%, radio dropped 19% and in-store dived 29%. Only ad spending on the internet grew, up 23%.

Overall ad spending in March fell 5% from the same month a year earlier.

Ms Runchita said digital media consumption will continue to rise after the pandemic ebbs as brands gear up for promotion campaigns.

"The pullback of advertising budget and lower marketing campaigns can reduce costs in the short term, but could affect consumer engagement and the resilience of the brands when the lockdown ends," she said.

"The thing we should all be cautious of is losing opportunities to reach and engage with customers during this critical time."

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