Polls apart!: What media did on the day of election results

Elections are perhaps the biggest event for media and it does everything to get the most out of them. Here’s how Indian media covered the recently concluded Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections results

e4m by Nishant Saxena
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 8:47 AM

Since elections shape the future of a country, it is not surprising to see perhaps the biggest media frenzy surrounding it. Reporters talking on ground to aam junta and sending updates to newsrooms, instant updates on websites and social media, in news channel studios, anchors along with panellists chatting all day long on the buzz surrounding the latest polls...elections coverage has it all. And why not! After all it is ‘an event of national interest’ when the media can fully show off its potential to grab more eyeballs.

We highlight a few of the 'buzziest' news platforms during the recently concluded elections:

Who knew ‘traffic’ would be loved so much!:


“Everyone loves a good election? Record traffic for @ndtv apps and sites today for Gujarat (higher than for UP earlier this year)...” tweeted Suparna Singh, CEO, NDTV Group.

On December 18, 2017- the day election results were declared, NDTV website had “over 10 million users in a single day,” Kawaljit S Bedi, Chief Technology & Product Officer, NDTV Group, told exchange4media.

"We used The Cube, a 3-d rotating cube which shows the latest election information and can be dragged to any part of the screen. There was also Twitter and browser subscription where you can follow up to 10 constituencies and get latest results pushed to you. We also did lots of small, quick write ups as updates came in,” he added.

ABP News

Competing neck to neck, ABP News website also recorded over 10 million visitors on the same day.

“During the counting day, our ABP News website achieved 10 million+ visitors, 42 million page views, while our ABP Live app achieved a milestone of 1.5 million active users. With these record breaking numbers, we’ve successfully reset the benchmark in the digital space,” Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News Network, told exchange4media.

In addition to that, ABP live app was trending on Google Playstore on Monday and ANN website (ABP News + ABP Majha + ABP Asmita + ABP Ananda + ABP Live + ABP Sanjha) received overall 12 million active users and 52 million page views in a single day.

“Keeping up with changing consumer behaviour, we have tried to make our product screen agnostic. We have exponentially increased our focus on Digital and Television, which is validated by the game changing numbers that we’ve achieved,” said Pandey.


“The content that was being put out on the website on result day was extremely well researched and provided both, the micro and macro picture of this election,” Rajiv Singh, Business Head, News18.com, told exchange4media, adding that the matrix that they made available to the users “enabled them to dissect and analyse data through various filters such as-party, region, past results (2012), community and constituency.”

“Our real-time users crossed 200K, the total users crossed 8 million, page views crossed 40 million,” he added.

“Our real-time users were 7 times the daily users, the total users for the day was 4 times the daily users, the total page views for the day was 8 times the daily users, the average session duration on desktop and mobile combined was 1.5 times the daily figure, and pages/session was 2 times on desktop and 1.5 times on mobile compared to daily recordings,” he said.

“We synced the electoral counts of key candidates with real time data that would auto update with the result tally. ‘Real-time’ was the defining feature that formed the highlight of every section on our website," Singh added.

Times Now

“In the run up to the elections and on the day of the results, Times Now Digital had an extensive content plan across websites and social media platforms to cover the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh,” Shouneel Charles, Senior VP – Digital, Times Network, told exchange4media adding that over a hundred articles surrounding the results and live TV and live data was seamlessly integrated into the homepage to provide real time updates.

“Timesnownews.com witnessed a 10-fold increase in real time traffic as compared to usual days,” he said.

Dainik Jagran

"With a team of 30 specialised members we focused on user experience, speed and accuracy,” Rajesh Upadhyay, Editor In Chief at Jagran New Media, told us.

Further talking about the strategy for the coverage of the election results, he said, “Although we were sending notifications, doing FB live etc we didn’t bombard our users.”

“We increased our direct traffic by 4 times than other days,” he said while declining to share the exact numbers.

Hindustan and Hindustan Times

“Our approach was great, we started at 5 am when others (other news organisations) were sleeping,” a highly placed source in Hindustan told us adding that the real time traffic for the website went as high as 15,000 which is around 5 times more than the usual days.

“Having a smaller base as compared to our competitors we weren’t expecting more than 10, 000,” the source further said.

Another source well placed in Hindustan Times told us that the website managed to get “4 times of the traffic” as compared to other days.


“Since results were quite clear by 12-1 pm viewers’ interest had started decreasing and so did the numbers, still we got 3 times more traffic than usual,” Vijay Kumar Jha, Editor, Jansatta, told us.

While adding that the real time traffic on the website had reached around 11,000 on the day of the election results, he added, “It was quite clear to us that users do not have much interest in deep analysis.”

Amar Ujala

A well placed source in Amar Ujala told us that on December 18, 2017 the traffic on their website was “double the expectation."

“Real time traffic remained in the range of 20K-22K, however on regular days it is around 10-12k,” the source said, adding that “it was completely organic traffic and we didn’t spend any money on sponsored links etc like many other websites.”

From SeaPlanes to Shayari – Everything for TRPs

Since BARC India data won’t be available until later today, let’s have a look at what all television news channels tried to do to entertain the viewers.

ABP News

Imagine, PM Narendra Modi playing Ajay Devgn’s role in the movie Singham. ABP News did something of the same kind!

In one of its shows, PM Modi was introduced by the news anchor as Singham of the BJP, while Modi’s video clips were played with the movie’s title track playing in the background-“Mann bhanwar uthe, tann sihar uthe, Jab khabar uthe ke aawe, Singham. Na agan jale na magan jale, Bas kehar chale jab aawe, Singham.” 
It doesn’t end here, the next thing was recreating Sabarmati Riverfront in their studio and having sea plane flying showering flowers and bringing the results.

There were even dramatic one liners such as, “UP ka Qila fateh kiya”, “Gujarat me 22 saal ki baadshahat barkaraar rakhi”.

Republic TV

With no Congress spokesperson on the panel, Arnab Goswami brings in Samajwadi party’s ex-minister Naved Siddiqui to join the panel and insists Jitendra Singh and Siddiqui to debate in couplet. Goswami enjoys it with “wah wah” while the both bring in Faiz Ahmed Faiz and even Ghalib to downgrade each other.

Times Now

An animated tank named “Mandate 2017” moves around the studio with PM Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi sitting on either side of a see-saw fixed to the tank.

It doesn’t end there, elections became adventure sports when Times Now also got a helicopter in the studio! Yes, a helicopter with three people jumping off it with parachutes.

What’s in Print if not Headlines

While digital media and electronic media enjoy multiple options to experiment with creatives, print media is left with limited options. Given these limited options, the usage of headlines is very important. Here are some interesting headlines on the results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections

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