With the counting day of the Bihar Assembly Election approaching on November 8, Times NOW has unveiled its plans for the exit polls programming. The channel will have 36 hours of non-stop programming on outcome of the Bihar election starting Saturday, November 7 at 7pm up until Sunday, November 8 mid-night. This special edition on the Bihar exit polls will be spearheaded by Arnab Goswami, President & Editor-in-Chief, Times NOW & ET NOW. Joining Goswami on the panel will be eminent experts such as Sunil Alagh, Saba Naqvi, Sankarshan Thakur, R Rajagopalan, Kumar Ketkar, Hartosh Singh Bal, Ajoy Bose, Arati Jerath, Shahid Siddiqui and Neerja Chowdhury.
Goswami further said, “We were about 50% channel share during the General election. Typically you find that during an election our viewership goes high. For us an election is actually an indicator of the credibility that the channel enjoys. We do coverage which is completely different from the kind of old fashioned coverage like swings which was innovative for the 80’s and the 90’s but 20 years have passed since then and frankly it is jaded compared to what we are doing. People have rejected 80’s style election coverage.”
The channel will feature special statistical tools such as Cluster, Spectrum and Firewall to give live data analysis and graphical representations while reporting the outcome of the elections for the first time. Some of the statistical tools include graphical tools such as ‘Cluster’ which analysis results on the basis of socio-economic demographic profile of a constituency. Another tool is the concept of a firewall where the channel will have live data analysis which tells viewers whether any individual constituencies are bucking the overall trend. “For example, if there is a constituency that, say, the Janata Dal has won three times in a row, it is a firewall constituency - because for anyone to breach that constituency from the other side will be doubly difficult. So if the exit polls indicate that trend is being bucked, Firewall throws it up, with details of the candidate or party challenging the favourite, and the others in the constituency. While people do this kind of an analysis 10 to 12 hours after the results, on Times NOW, it will be done live,” explained Goswami.
Speaking about the third tool, Spectrum, Goswami said, “We’ve designed this to emulate the concept of a spectrum; we will put the entire result out literally on a band and colour-code it – for example, saffron for the NDA, green for JDU. So the band is colour coded, and as the results come in, the band gets filled with colour. So you can compare the band of this election to the band of last elections and visually a viewer can understand if colour-wise this election is looking like the last election or otherwise”. He further added, “All of these tools are live data analysis tools, which means you will just need to look at the screen and you will understand what is going on.”
Apart from this Times Now also has an exclusive partnership with Twitter and will be doing a full show on Periscope before they go live on television. This is the first time a news show will be doing a show only for Periscope.
When asked about the reliability of the exit poll figures released by Times Now-CVoter (BJP-led NDA – 111 (101-121), Grand Alliance – 122 (112-132) he said, “There is a gap of 11 seats as per our poll between JDU and BJP. But the 11 seats is only 1% vote share. One percent vote share means 11 seats, 3% vote share means 33 seats. There is a margin of error which is 1-3%, so it can totally be the other way also. So when I get a pollster, I tell the pollster to do a poll and I put out what he does. I don’t ask him any questions. Whatever his numbers are we have faith in it. But I am not totally confident of any poll including ours because if it is 1% or 11 seats is just too close. 2% here and there and BJP will win the election. And frankly one doesn’t know what happens in the last phase. The other thing you must also remember is that people don’t reveal the truth who they have voted for. Many people are the silent voter. They will either not talk and even if you ask them they might give you a wrong picture. “