13 Aug 2020 18:27 IST

Comedy is the go-to genre during lockdown, reveals MICA study

Amid a content glut, a lot of us took solace in comedy and Ludo King to beat the WFH blues

The coronavirus-imposed lockdowns in India have resulted in a 25 per cent spike in content consumption, reveals a study conducted by MICA’s Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies (CMES). The ‘Covid-19 and Content Consumption’ study maps the change in media consumption habits, preferred genres, emerging platforms, surge in social gaming, news absorption patterns, and important factors behind content selection.

Commenting on the study, Dr Shailendra Raj Mehta, President and Director, MICA said, “As the world took a giant pause due to the lockdown, a lot of upheavals occurred in media consumption patterns. The MICA-Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies has stumbled upon new patterns of consumption that would mainly help understand how the crisis has led to a change in preferences from an Indian perspective.”

These findings were based on the responses of 429 working professionals and students across India gathered between April and May 2020, conducted by a team led by MICA Prof Santosh Patra, Head, CMES; Leslin Bastian, Executive, CMES; and three PGP second year students — Piyush Goswami, Mohammad Salman Khan, and Aakriti Ananya.

Consumption peaks

During the lockdown, there has been a 25 per cent increase in people who consumed four hours of content daily. 8.3 per cent of respondents consumed more than eight hours of content daily. The study further cited that YouTube was overall the preferred leading platform for online education because of its ‘freemium’ nature.

Speaking about the study, Prof Patra elaborated, “Media has witnessed a major shift in consumption habits among people. As life outdoors came to a standstill, there was panic, anxiety, and fear among people, which made them look for alternative ways of escapism. This resulted in a sudden bout of classical revivalism, such as, Doordarshan airing tele-serials Ramayana and Mahabharata to Amul re-telecasting advertisements of the ’90s."



“TikTok (before the ban) seemed to have broken the age barrier as working professionals preferred TikTok more than students. This was possibly due to the work-from-home environment,” added Patra.

Comedy as an escape

Comedy, as a genre, was the most popular during the lockdown as people looked to escape from their fears and anxieties.




Sharing further insights on OTT platform’s, Prof. Patra said, “Over 75 per cent of respondents chose comedy as their go-to genre, followed by drama and thrillers. The study states that Netflix’s Money Heist and Amazon Prime’s Panchayat were the most-watched shows in April and May. In terms of OTT platforms, Netflix emerged as the go-to OTT platform among students, while professionals preferred Disney Plus Hotstar. Among Indian OTT players, Voot registered the highest number of new subscribers during the lockdown.

Social gaming to cope with lockdown blues

After e-learning, social games were the most opted form of content consumed by students, the study reveals. Elaborating further, Prof Patra said, “The lockdown has resulted in a surge of social gaming apps, which was seen as a way of filling the void of being unable to go out and hang out with friends. Ludo King emerged as the leader in gaming apps with 37.5 per cent of people claiming to have played Ludo King at least once during the period of lockdown.

In terms of news, nearly 57 per cent of the respondents termed social media as their primary source of news, followed by news apps.