Xiaomi’s PatchWall UI for its smart TVs is based on Android TV
Xiaomi has released its PatchWall Replay 2020 report
Edutainment content saw significant growth in the past year
Big-budget movie ‘Laxmii’ was released direct-to-streaming in 2020
Xiaomi Patchwall 2020 Replay Report was just released by the company, based on usage data gathered from customers who bought Mi TV models. It showed us, among other things, that educational content got a big boost in viewership in 2020. The year 2020 was historic for reasons good and bad (primarily the latter), but the television industry has largely benefited from people spending more time at home.
From March onwards as lockdowns were put into place and establishments closed doors, people of all ages have had to stay home more, and have turned to the reliable old TV for entertainment. As a result, even content delivery has seen a shift, with streaming services gaining immensely through big-budget movie releases such as ‘Laxmii' releasing directly on streaming platforms.
Although not a service in itself, Xiaomi's PatchWall has risen in popularity as an aggregator of content through the success of television sales. Although many buyers might choose Mi televisions for the competitive pricing and features, PatchWall often comes as a pleasant addition that many users prefer over the stock Android TV launcher that is also available on most Mi TVs.
Patchwall allows users to play TV content from their DTH set top boxes, while also letting you run streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar, all from a single interface. In recent times, PatchWall has served more as an aggregator of content, functioning as a user interface on top of Android TV on Mi TV models.
Thanks to Xiaomi's position as the top smart TV brand in India, PatchWall continues to serve as a key bridge between users and content. It now has over 25 content partners, and claims to have served 14 billion interactions with users in the time that Xiaomi has been present in the Indian market.
The PatchWall Replay 2020 report gives us some interesting insights across content segments and usage patterns. It also largely confirms something that we've all suspected — 2020 made sure we all watch a lot of TV. Here are some of the key findings from the PatchWall Replay 2020 report.
Nursery rhymes and edutainment content saw a considerable spike during the lockdown
With schools closing and many people switching to working from home, the television became an easy way to keep young children occupied at home. PatchWall reports a 177 percent increase in views in the edutainment category, with nursery rhymes and DIY videos seeing a significant spike from March to August - the peak period of the lockdown. PatchWall's Kid's Mode feature was used over one million times during the same period.
The unavoidable ear worm ‘Baby Shark' grew to anthem status, and was among the most searched for and watched children's videos on PatchWall. Other popular children's videos were ‘Show Yourself' from the Frozen 2 soundtrack, classic nursery rhyme ‘Wheels On The Bus', and Indian videos such as Tales of Akbar and Birbal and Bal Ganesha.
Clearly, while all of us were spending a lot more time on screens, for many parents of small children, that wasn't always by choice, as their kids took over screens.
The big screen experience goes smart
With the pandemic and lockdown forcing theatres and multiplexes to shut down for months, theatrical release schedules for movies were obviously disrupted. Gulabo Sitabo was one of the first mainstream movies to make the big decision of foregoing the theatrical run in favour to release directly to streaming, and was released on Amazon Prime Video in June 2020 despite furore in the industry.
Photo Credit: Amazon/Rising Sun Films/Kino Works
That was followed by other big releases, including Laxmii, Dil Bechara, and Angrezi Medium, which all switched to a streaming-first strategy. While things are now going back to normal and we can expect to see theatrical releases in 2021, this could spark a long-term trend where many users prefer watching even new movies at home. More big releases could come straight to streaming services as a result.
The April to August 2020 period saw significant growth in movie viewing on PatchWall, with trends largely following the big releases for the month. Two and a half times more people watched movies on weekdays, and views went up by 97 percent in the movies category in general. Interestingly, for a Friday release, PatchWall claims to generate the same traffic as a house-full first-day-first-show release across all 3,000+ multiplex chains in India.
Regional language content, news see big gains
Although regional language content has typically been the domain of traditional cable TV channels, streaming services have done a lot to draw viewers with increasing availability of regional content. Many channels have launched their own streaming services, and all of it led to a 56 percent increase in views for regional language content on PatchWall. Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, and Kannada were the top regional languages on the platform based on user viewing trends.
Similarly, news streaming too saw a 161 percent uptick, particularly regional news channels such as ABP News (Hindi and Marathi) and Sun News Tamil, as users naturally sought up-to-date information on the pandemic and regulations in place across the country. Fitness and food videos and content too saw an increase in interest, with PatchWall reporting that weight loss, meditation, and yoga were the key trends for the former, while sarson da saag, jeera chicken, and instant ice cream were top searches for the latter.
Ali Pardiwala writes about audio and video devices for Gadgets 360 out of Mumbai, and has covered the industry for a decade now. Ali is a Senior Reviewer for Gadgets 360, where he has regularly written about televisions, home entertainment, and mobile gaming as well. He is a firm believer in 4K and HDR on televisions, and believes that true wireless earphones are the future of the personal audio industry. Ali is available on Twitter as @AliusPardius and on email at email@example.com, so do send in