Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Rs 20 lakh crore economic package address this week was viewed by 193 million people, garnering the highest viewing minutes among his five messages to the nation since the COVID-19 pandemic began, BARC said on Thursday.
Overall TV viewership continued to decline in the week to May 8, and giving away gains made in the lockdown period, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) said.
The nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25, has increased TV watching in India as people are cooped up inside their homes.
Among genres, news and movies grew the most, but the launch of Hindu mythology-based content like Ramayan pushed the viewership of the general entertainment channels which were struggling for fresh content because of no new productions.
Modi's 33-minute address, which focused on developing a self-reliant India, was watched by 193 million, which is lower than the previous address that garnered 203 million viewers.
However, going by viewing minutes, the number was at 4.3 billion minutes, the highest among all the five addresses by Modi, it said.
A total of 197 channels carried the address, a shade lower than the last speech's 199 channels, the body said.
Meanwhile, on the overall viewership front, the TV audiences consumed lesser content this week at 1.10 trillion viewing minutes, as against 1.14 trillion minutes in the week ago period.
However, the 1.10 trillion viewing minutes figure is higher by 24 per cent compared to the pre-lockdown period, the body said.
As an effect of no new programming, the prime time viewership declined by 7 per cent as compared to the pre-lockdown period, it said.
Public broadcaster Doordarshan, which had catapulted to the top spot among the general entertainment channels courtesy its mythological content, ceded the position to Dangal this week as some of its serials came to an end.
This had a direct impact on advertising, with the air time carrying commercials down 9 per cent from the week-ago period, the body said.
In the past, experts have blamed a lack of consumption during the lockdowns as being hurtful for advertising, one of the major revenue streams for the industry.
There was also a 7 per cent drop in the number of advertisers at 1,331 for the reporting week, as compared to the previous one, BARC said.
Data on smartphone usage collected by marketer AC Nielsen said there was 14 per cent increase in mobile usage and 18 per cent jump in data consumption during the week.