A clean victory for the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in the 15th Lok Sabha elections may have been unexpected for everyone, but not so the viewer turnout for television channels on May 16, the day the results were declared.
According to data provided by TAM Media Research, among all the Indian channels, Hindi news channels showed a 15.6 per cent channel share as compared to the 5.02 per cent share of the same day of the previous week. Even the English news channels had an 1.2 per cent English news genre share over the same day of the previous week, when it was 0.37 per cent.
Hindi news channel Aaj Tak emerged as the leader in its genre, with a channel share of 27 per cent, followed by Star News with 19 per cent and India TV with 13 per cent. IBN-7 remained fourth in the viewership ladder with a 10 per cent share, while Zee News took a share of 9 per cent and NDTV India had a 7 per cent share on May 16.
Among the English news channels, CNN-IBN had the highest relative share of 38 per cent followed by Times Now with 27 per cent and NDTV 24X7 with 26 per cent relative share.
Dilip Venkatraman, chief marketing officer, IBN18 Network, says, “CNN-IBN’s victory was possible as we delivered a complete 360 degree experience by enabling multi-media touch points, be it on TV, Internet, mobile or other media.”
Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief, Times Now, says, “Our focus was more on news, than numbers. And that’s the reason why we took a considered decision not to do an exit poll, and focus on breaking stories, which is our forte.”
Comparable viewership data for the counting day for the 14th Lok Sabha elections in 2004 are different from the present results. Data by TAM, showed a five-fold increase in the viewership of Hindi news channels on May 13, 2004, the day the results were declared.
The television numbers for 14th Lok Sabha numbers are significantly higher than 15th Lok Sabha elections and even from previous news events that channels covered around that time, like the terrorist attack on Parliament in 2002 or the September 11 terror attacks in New York.