Newsmakers of Lockdown

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    As COVID-19 created havoc in India and the world, political leaders, industries, and brands rose to the occasion to tackle the virus. An analysis of news headlines emanating out of India showed who occupied the centre-stage. There was emergence of old brands and new as they jostled to find space during this time.

    Dharma Media Consultants, a boutique brand-building company, in partnership with technology company, PRM Fincon, has released a report on how COVID-19 primarily occupied news space, with the major newsmakers emerging from Coronavirus-related news. We scanned 75,000 headlines across about 15 mainstream news sources using Artificial Intelligence techniques and identified, extracted, and classified the top newsmakers from each category. In the month-long data crunching exercise, the report shows the performance of brands which proffers valuable insights to corporates as they prepare to do business in a new world.

    We found that out of the total 75,000 headlines, 24.5% of headlines were related to COVID-19 in pre-Lockdown (from March 1), the number increased to 42.2% during Lockdown 1.0 and 2.0, and dropped slightly to 32% in Lockdown 3.0 (till May 10).

    The total number of COVID-19 headlines was 7,455 in Pre-Lockdown, it jumped to 16,505 in the height of the Lockdown period (1.0 and 2.0), and fell to 1,660 till the middle of Lockdown 3.0.

    Shutapa Paul, Founder, Dharma Media Consultants: “Our aim with this report was to find who and what were the newsmakers from before Lockdown 1.0 till Lockdown 3.0 induced by Coronavirus. The COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout are historic; and in these extraneous circumstances, the news cycles also projected unique findings. There were interesting findings in our month-long data crunching exercise with some surprises and a few news disrupters as well.”

    Rupesh Chaudhuri, Co-Founder, PRM Fincon: “Our contextual analysis engine, Xlrt, is capable of generating insights that end users can use for informed decision making. Using its AI engine, we were quickly able to identify the entities that were making the headlines across a variety of news sources and news categories.”

    Key highlights of the report:

     

    • Of the total 75,000 headlines, 24.5% of headlines were related to COVID-19 in pre-Lockdown, the number increased to 42.2% during Lockdown 1.0 and 2.0, and dropped slightly to 32% in Lockdown 3.0.
    • Top Newsmakers among all Politicians (i.e. National and State leaders combined) in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 news was Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
    • Nationally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to occupy news space followed by Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, and P Chidambaram.
    • Among state politicians, Jyotiraditya Scindia was most in the news with his shift from Congress to BJP. He was followed by Arvind Kejriwal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
    • Google, Amazon, and Facebook had most COVID-19 related news among brands, (Listed and Unlisted brands combined).
    • Among Listed Brands, Yes Bank emerged as Top Newsmaker followed by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and HDFC.
    • Among Unlisted Brands, Jio made its way to the top due to news of Facebook’s investment followed by Realme, Flipkart, Zomato, and Swiggy.
    • Actors Rishi Kapoor and Irrfan Khan’s sudden demise made most dent in Celebrity news followed by Kareena Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, and Anushka Sharma.
    • From the world of Sports, postponement of Tokyo Olympics 2020 made most news followed by Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli and the IPL.
    • The Migrant Labour crisis trended in news along with Tablighi Jamaat incident, WHO, Wuhan, and Gas leak in Visakhapatnam.

    Internationally, US President Donald Trump occupied news cycles with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.