Is COVID Season opening up a Digital Era: Binoy Mukkandath

It is the perfect time to dive into the digital space and strategize for hyper-personalisation writes Binoy Mukkandath, Chief Operating Officer, ForwardSlash Technologies.


Though unanticipated, the novel coronavirus (Covid19) has widely disrupted businesses and triggered a change in consumer behaviour patterns that going to last for months to come.

Everyone across the world is in one way or the other is under the lockdown, to lessen the spread of the pandemic. As the outcome of these lockdown sessions, we were consuming unparalleled levels of media and content that kept us entertained and engaged.

The hints of today’s reality for the media industry is straight forward:

Content creators, networks, digital media agencies, advertisers and brands have significantly more opportunity to engage with consumers simply because of the clear correlation between the time at home and content consumption.

Since the corona outbreak, we have discovered many new brands or products through different online/digital channels.

“Social distancing, quarantine and staying home will have a significant effect on content consumption, which could rise to 60% …. think audience”

Social Channels Become THE COVID-19 Conversation Podium

Social channels, now a part of everyday life for most consumers engaged with the world digitally, became the primary source for buzz about all things about this pandemic as worries and news intensified. The level of social media buzz about COVID-19 far overshadowed most other topics and peaked in the first two weeks of heightening outbreak news in each market. The peaks reflected announcements about local infections, local states of emergency, and local isolations respectively. After engagement peaked, everyone turned out to be net- savvy and used social channels less for discussion and more for news.

App Choices Changed

The choice for Apps also showed a drastic change in this lockdown period. The digitally savvy audiences have drifted to apps to meet their stay home lifestyle needs, largely in the entertainment and e-commerce (ordering daily-needs) categories. In Kerala, 65 per cent of the small-scale e-commerce apps were linked to versatile services with the Government for the successful delivery of essential commodities. Every next-door brick & mortar store associated with these small-scale players to stay live during this season. While video and gaming apps have topped the entertainment section, consumers have embraced e-commerce for an array of needs: home delivery of essentials and services, food delivery and online education. Certification courses hit a huge threshold while Beauty & Fashion dipped. Across all geo’s, the audiences weren’t pasted to the TV screen.

A Misstep

The pratfall was that the increased media time that was expected to be the new prime time for brand building and interacting with an engaged audience. “Despite notably higher media consumption, a majority of advertisers pulled back on advertising campaigns and deferred others in an effort to bring investment in line with consumption and sentiments. Certain sectors, such as healthcare brands, gaming companies and e-commerce operators, did lean in with disproportionate and opportunistic ad spending but the shift wasn’t widely adopted enough to encompass the depth and breadth of consumer interests or needs as the situation intensified.” As per Neilson Survey insight.

Hotchpotch? Everyone seemed very much engaged with digital. Across all generations? YEAH YEAH very much…

This data from the Global Web Index report explores people’s media consumption change during the lockdown across generations:

Media habits, as well as Consumption, is not as predicted by the digital media wizards. In this state of affairs, even the digital media wizards are now in disarray.

Short videos gave way to long videos; Infographic representations into long essays; News capsules to detailed news analysis. Every generation is now keenly indulging to grasp the whole story in detail.

Due to this pandemic-induced quarantine stage, content consumption has seen a colossal increase.

Reports states that, 82 % of the population in India have been spending more time on their Smartphones/ Mobile Phones since the start of this pandemic period.

What all the surveys & reports hint is that over 80% consumed more content since the outbreak with broadcast TV and online videos (YouTube, TikTok) being the primary mediums across generations and genders.

Content Consumption Age-Wise:-

15-22 Years: with a peak incidence at age 19 – YOUTH / GEN Z

Online videos (Youtube, TikTok, Helo & Likee) are the major consumption for this generation. More than 7-8 hours, they peep into documentaries, web-series and other long- format videos. According to reports, 51% of the Youth likely to watch video contents.

38 per cent of the youth watch Online TV streaming consumption. An overall 31% of this age-group like to be into strategy games or gaming console. Music streaming comes next with a decent percentage of 28. The print press has got a least of 9 per cent.

Predictably, while 68% of consumers were looking for pandemic updates online the Youth was the only generation majorly inclined towards entertainment.

 22-36 Years: with a peak incidence at age 28-32 –MILLENNIALS

This segment started or was consuming more content through online videos. A spike of 44% is recorded in this scenario. Media streaming – Online TV & Music saw a percentage hike of 35-41% owing to millennials’ consumption. 31% of this age group seemed keenly interested in video games & 36% opted their consumption through online press/ News portal. 20% of the category consumed the content through Podcasts as well as through audiobooks.


36-55 Years: with a peak incidence at age 42-50 –GEN X

According to surveys, 45% of this category spent this season in-front of Broadcast Television. This category has increased its TV Watching than any other generation. Online TV Streaming, OOT platform & radio got about 38% of their attention, which is not negligible. 27% of the mentioned category delved into music streaming as well.

56- 65 Years: with a peak incidence at age 58-62 - Boomers

A drastic change in their media consumption with an increase in watching broadband TV was the most apparent trend that showed up. About 15% sneaked into Radio & Online press. They were keenly into the print press before the breakdown period. This category uses the online media for discussion and news.

Here’s the most sobering statistic regarding content consumption - the kind of sites that the majority of people are accessing. One survey showed an incredible 73% increase in CTR (Click Through Rate) for sites related to careers and jobs, a result of the rising global unemployment and concerns about the financial security for a majority of the working group.

As per the researches and surveys conducted across the globe, this media consumption pattern is expected to extend until 2022.

Trust that it’s the perfect time to dive into the digital space and strategize for hyper- personalisation. We always THINK AUDIENCE.

Sources: Visualcapitalist, GlobalWebIndex & Neilson

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