2020, the year of 'unprecedented' screen time: A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

Firstpost tied up with YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, to help understand what Indians watched in 2020 and if there are any worthy content patterns.

FP Staff January 02, 2021 15:33:32 IST
2020, the year of 'unprecedented' screen time: A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

Illustration © Satwik Gade for Firstpost

Chances are, you've probably heard the word "unprecedented" used many times to describe the year 2020. It has, after all, been an unprecedented year filled with unprecedented happenings, from a global pandemic that brought the entire world to a standstill; with lockdowns and restrictions that altered our daily lifestyles.

The one phenomenon that was already on an upswing before 2020, however, was how much time an average person was spending in front of a screen. Whether it was for leisure watching, shopping, work, bookings, working out, news consumption — you name it, and it could be done on a device. In 2020, though, we only had our screens for company. With the inability to step out, or interact socially, our screens became our refuge.

At the Firstpost Entertainment team, one of the questions we asked ourselves as 2020 came to an end, is, exactly what were we watching on our screens this year? Fiction? News? New genres? Comfort films and series? Was there a distinct pattern to be followed this year? Were people only watching FRIENDS reruns (if Instagram was any indication)? Did the apocalypse/dystopian genre get a shot in the arm courtesy what the world was looking like?

In a bid to answer some of these questions, we tied up with YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, to help us understand what Indians were watching in 2020. Over a span of 2 weeks in December, YouGov carried out a detailed survey involving roughly a 1000 respondents to track watching and content consumption patterns in a year where we spent most of our time indoors. And here's what they found out:

News consumption was at its highest in 2020

Indian audiences preferred watching their news on their personal gadgets at their own time, as opposed to cable TV or satellite providers. Politics and news were the most popular genres of non-fiction content, followed Music, Comedy, Drama and Sports.

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

Hindi entertainment took precedence over foreign language shows

Hindi entertainment took precedence over foreign language shows and regional content in 2020. Only a small margin of people chose not to watch any content at all in 2020. Also, while most people are paying for the content they are watching, there were a sizeable amount of audiences still illegally downloading content in 2020.

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic
2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

Full-length feature films are still the preferred type of content

Among multiple categories of content, from short films to documentaries, audiences preferred full length feature films during the lockdown in 2020. This is followed by web series, which clearly indicates that time was not a factor of consideration.

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic 2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic 2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

Youtube for the win

More than OTT platforms, Indians have watched content on Youtube and Dailymotion in 2020, on the recommendation of their friends and family or platform recommendations.

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic 2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

New content over comfort watch

During the coronavirus pandemic, Indians have experimented with their content choices and preferred to watch new genres and content, over their favourite films and TV shows.

2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic 2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic 2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic 2020 the year of unprecedented screen time A detailed survey on content watching patterns during the pandemic

Information about the 1000 person survey conducted by YouGov:

  1. 55 % of the respondents were male, 45 % were female
  2. Millennials between the age of 18-29 made for a majority of the sample size (40 %), and the least were baby boomers (9 %)
  3. North and South India contributed to maximum of the sample size (36 and 29 % respectively), followed by East/Northeast and West India (16 and 19 %)
  4. Tier 3 cities had the highest response to the survey (40 %), followed by Tier 1 cities (36 %) and then finally, Tier 2 cities (24 %)

Additional YouGov surveys:

 
 

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