What started as a janta curfew, ended up being an almost two month-long lockdown. And, this definitely did bring about a lot of positive changes in many people. The ones who were not cooking started cooking, some took to art to keep themselves occupied and sane, while some took to social media to find creative means of outlet. It also did bring about a change the people consumed digital content and news. As the lockdown period started progressing, Indians moved from traditional sources of news to the innovative ones like analytical and detail-oriented videos and podcasts.
Is this a sign of an attempt to distance themselves from depressing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, better time management, or an effort to deepen their knowledge during their spare time or? "Based on my understanding, it is a mix of all three factors,” says Shakir Ebrahim, Founder of Bisbo India.
Bisbo translates news into a more creative and attractive animated video format. "While the first month of the lockdown saw most digital audiences opting for news, with a need to stay updated through the crisis, there seems to be a shift away from it. Instead of quick updates, audiences are now opting for detailed analysis and research, which has led to massive growth in viewership for explainer content,” Ebrahim adds.
The locked-in audience has migrated to digital media, seeking news, entertainment and distraction. Shedding some light on this shift, Ritika Aggarwal Mehta, Consultant Psychologist, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, said, "They are usually short and thus most people can easily fit it into their schedules, even on a busy day. A text overload can be scary for some people and may make things appear more complicated than they actually are – the simplification in these videos helps people feel more at ease with the information."
She further says these animated explainer videos convey complicated and possibly serious information in a fun, simple, and easy to understand manner. They walk one through the concepts making it easier, while the animations make it humorous and less scary.
"People are better able to understand information when they can hear and see it being explained to them. It takes the guess work out of the equation and allows them to learn experientially. In addition, most people tend to retain what they see much well than what they just hear. For example, you will notice that you find it easier to focus during a talk when you can see the presenter and/ or slides as compared to just being able to hear someone talking. Visual & auditory learning allow us to be more attentive to the material as well as retain the information for longer," Ritika Aggarwal Mehta said.
Ebrahim also says there is a demand for complex conceptual content like business news, among other high-profile events. "Our most-watched content has included stories on the Ambanis, Tatas, Ranbaxy & The Carlos Ghosn saga. Dramatic news videos on J&K operative Davinder Singh and Princess Haya's escape are another genre catching their attention,” he adds.
The lockdown is already a lot for people to deal with and add to that news overload leads to feelings of anxiousness. "The news is a constant reminder for people of the gravity and seriousness of the situation which could increase their anxiety. Animated explainer videos could reduce that anxiety while still getting across the important and pertinent points. At the same time, reduced anxiety will allow you to focus better on the information being explained and thus you are more likely to retain it," Mehta adds.