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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

These trends show how lockdown impacted online media consumption in India

The lockdown in India has resulted in a major spike in online media consumption, according to new data shared by ComScore, which shows that entertainment, online news and gaming were the big gainers.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 10, 2020 3:41:27 pm
COVID-19, COVID-19 internet impact, COVID-19 lockdown, Lockdown impact, Lockdown internet speeds, Internet streaming The lockdown impact on India’s online media consumption habits: Entertainment, General news websites and apps see spike in traffic. (Image: Getty Images)

The lockdown in India has resulted in a major spike in online media consumption, according to new data shared by research firm ComScore. In a blog post, data shows a spike for online consumption of news, entertainment and even gaming once the lockdown came into place. The only casualty of the lockdown was the online sports category, given most of the major sports events, including IPL have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

According to ComScore, traffic to websites and mobile apps in the General News category has shown an increase, which accelerated further in the second half of March. Visits to the category increased by 17 per cent during the week of March 23-29, 2020 when compared with the week of March 16-March 22. Data also showed that news saw an 89 percent rise in the week of March 23-29 when compared with the week of February 10-16.

COVID-19, COVID-19 internet impact, COVID-19 lockdown, Lockdown impact, Lockdown internet speeds, Internet streaming Traffic to general news websites and apps grew during the COVID-19 lockdown. (Image source: ComScore)

We had earlier noted that apps like InShorts, which is one of the most popular news apps India, had seen an increase of 100 percent in traffic within a week of the lockdown coming into effect. The Inshorts app has seen around 50,000 downloads a day, up from 20,000 back in February, since the lockdown has been implemented. People were also spending more time on the app, 30 minutes on an average on its Public app and around 20 minutes on the Inshorts app.

COVID-19, COVID-19 internet impact, COVID-19 lockdown, Lockdown impact, Lockdown internet speeds, Internet streaming In India, Entertainment: Music category saw a peak during the COVID-19 lockdown. (Image source: Comscore)

The other category to benefit from the lockdown has been entertainment, which is not surprising either. In fact, streaming websites have seen increased traffic, which has put strain on internet networks all across the world. As a result online streaming websites have reduced the default video quality in order to reduce this burden.

But in India, music is the category which has benefitted the most in entertainment. Visits rose by 32 percent in the week of March 23-29 when compared with the week of March 16-22. Compared to February 10-16, the visits had increased by 64 per cent.

Also read: How to optimise streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and YouTube

Another category to benefit from the lockdown is online gaming as visits in the last week of March increased by 22 percent compared to the earlier one. Compared to February, this was a 51 percent increase.

COVID-19, COVID-19 internet impact, COVID-19 lockdown, Lockdown impact, Lockdown internet speeds, Internet streaming Sports was negatively impacted during the lockdown. (Image courtesy: ComScore blog)

For the sports category, the cancellations of nearly all mass sporting events has negatively impacted the situation. Visits decreased by 19 percent during the week of March 23-29. When compared with February 10-16, this was even more dramatic as the visits decreased by 89 percent.

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Similar trends around gaming were observed by DE-CIX India, which is an Internet Exchange operator. Their report shows an increase in overall data traffic of more than 20 per cent compared to the time before COVID-19. Online video streaming has increased by 120 per cent and gaming by more than 80 per cent, according to DE-CIX India. Data traffic and internet usage during peak hours has continually experienced new record levels with a 38 per cent increase in ISP traffic, adds the report.

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