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Indonesian TV viewership jumps amid COVID-19 ‘stay at home’ policy

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, March 28, 2020  /  02:22 pm
Indonesian TV viewership jumps amid COVID-19 ‘stay at home’ policy

Indonesian TV viewership jumps amid COVID-19 ‘stay at home’ policy. (Shutterstock/-)

Television viewership in Indonesia has increased more than 50 percent, according to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI).

The increase happened perhaps due to the daily broadcasts of news on COVID-19 or through entertainment programs as another way for viewers to take their minds off the pandemic, the commission suggested.

"Television has become the vanguard in the efforts to disseminate information to the public during this coronavirus emergency. This is because television does not broadcast hoaxes and always checks and rechecks, especially under the KPI’s supervision," KPI head commissioner Agung Suprio said in a statement.

Meanwhile, KPI commissioner Yuliandre Darwis noted that the upswing highlighted the public’s trust in mainstream media.

Yuliandre, who also chairs the 2017-2021 expert board of the Indonesian Association of Communication Studies, said the large number of hoaxes on social media had made the public turn to TV as a trusted source of information.

"The function of broadcast TV – to inform, to educate and to entertain – is up and running and is extremely trusted among the public. So, [the public] do not trust the new information media [social media]," he said, adding that TV viewership was likely to increase more than 50 percent because of the large number of people staying at home in compliance with the government’s call.

Indonesian Private Television Association (ATVSI) chairman Syafril Nasution explained that television as broadcast media provided information, entertainment and education while also offering a way to eliminate boredom.

Syafril said that ATVSI continued to appeal to private broadcasters to provide the best public information about what people should do and not do during the health emergency.

Television viewership is also increasing around the world.

Data analytics company Nielsen said in a report last week that Americans were expected to watch as much as 60 percent more television among all platforms. It also reported increased viewership in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, with a 17 percent rise in TV viewership in South Korea and a 6.5 percent rise in Italy’s national viewership last month, as well as a 12 percent rise in the Lombardy region – the epicenter of the Italian outbreak.

Streaming services have also benefited from social distancing measures, with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos telling CNN on Sunday that viewing was up, but giving no further details. The streaming service declined to comment on recent viewership on Wednesday.

HBO Now, the cable TV channel’s streaming service, recorded a 40 percent rise on March 14 in time spent on the platform compared to the previous month, with daily binge watching increasing 65 percent compared with the four weeks prior, according to WarnerMedia. (hdt)

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