Galwan clash made Indians reduce Chinese app usage even before govt ban: Nielsen Media

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Indians reduced usage of Chinese apps following death of 20 soldiers in Galwan Valley in Ladakh, even before the government banned 59 of those apps, data released by Nielsen Media showed on Thursday.

The government on June 29 banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with the Chinese troops at Galwan Valley on June 15 following weeks of tense stand-off along the Line of Actual control.

The market research agency said weekly usage of Chinese apps by those having such apps installed on their phones decreased by 5% to 77% in the week to June 20, which dropped further to 76%.

The highest impact was among users in tier-I cities, and those aged between 15-24, it said, adding that both the segments reported a 11% drop in percentage of users per week.

Those who were visiting the app, did so fewer times in a day, it said, pointing to a 10% decline in the average number of sessions to 5.4 per day for the week ended June 27 from 7.4 in the week ended June 20.

Males aged between 15-24 led the reduction in number of sessions as well, with an 18% decline, while tier-II cities saw 20% decline, the data said.

During the COVID-19 related lockdown period, the percentage of users per week had touched a peak of 80% for the week ended June 13, and the average number of sessions had touched nearly 8 per day, it said.

There were calls from civil society groups to boycott Chinese products and services, even before the government announced the ban.

Nielsen’s data is gathered from anonymous monitoring of 1 lakh mobile phones, running on popular Android operating system, of users aged between 15-44.

Meanwhile, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) came out with data points on TV viewership, which showed that weekly viewing inched up to 1.017 trillion minutes for the week ended July 3, higher than 887 billion minutes registered pre-Covid, but lower than the peak of 1.266 trillion achieved during the lockdown.

Viewership of news channels went up considerably due to appetite for information, while those for general entertainment and sports decreased due to lack of new content.

Advertising is also sluggish, and in segments where the volumes have gone up, there is no pricing power with the broadcasters as the value has gone down, it said.

The diminishing utility of mythological serials, which were being re-telecast during the peak of COVID-19 amid lack of new content, continues from a rating perspective, it said.

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