CAA protests cause a spike in Hindi News viewership by 30%  

The Hindi News viewership in rural and urban markets has gone up by 27% and 32% respectively, reveals BARC data

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 12:32 PM

The massive protests that have taken India by a storm in the last few weeks have resulted in a surge of viewership of news channels across genres. However, it’s the Hindi news viewership that in particular has seen a major jump of 30 per cent in the last two weeks itself.  While experts majorly attribute the reason for the surge to the protests, a few say unavailability of the internet in some parts might also have contributed to the growth.  

According to the data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, the total viewership of Hindi news channels has increased to 579 million in week 52 as compared to 543 million impressions in week 51 and 444 million impressions in week 50 in both urban and rural markets respectively. 

 Interestingly, the spike was more in the urban market by five per cent when compared with the rural sector. The urban market saw a 32% increase in the ratings whereas rural market saw a surge of 27% for the same said period.

 Industry leaders believe that the surge is directly related to the consumption pattern. With Aaj Tak continuing to hold the number one position during the surge too,  Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group said: “The viewership of Aaj Tak increases significantly, across all platforms during news events. So in that sense, this is again a reflection of how the brand has earned the viewers’ trust across platforms-TV and Digital. Many such incidents this year, where Aaj Tak has created history by beating GECs and Sports, not just in coverage but also in impressions. This week is no different and all depends really on your commitment to content, not uniquely external factors. The news genre and Aaj Tak, in particular, have seen this across the year now, with spikes much higher than this. But it is always very heartening to know that sticking to good journalism stands out. Almost 20% of all GRP growth was driven by Aaj Tak alone, and maximum new viewers acquired by the genre sampled Aaj Tak as the preferred destination."

Explaining more on the issue, Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP news network, said, “Given the rising consumer interest and curiosity in the news genre, amidst the protests and counter-protests on CAB, a sudden surge in viewership has been witnessed. Conversations around JNU and especially with regard to the unrest in some part of UP and other states were well covered by news channels all across India,” he said.

Pandey also agrees that the shutting of the internet in some parts added to viewership of channels. “The fresh spate of internet slowdowns substantially hindered access to digital videos having a direct impact leading consumers to shift to cable TV. Most smartphone-led consumption got redirected to television news. Additionally, Jharkhand Elections and Solar eclipse also resulted in a huge uptick on television news,” he said.

Ashish Sehgal, Chief Growth Officer - Ad Sales, ZEEL also reiterated similar views. “Protests are a news centric event and hence led to a surge in viewership. A similar increase has been noticed at the time of Elections or any other big news content,” he said.

Sehgal, however, was not sure of how much internet shutdown helped the surge but “it must have felicitated the growth”, he added.

Experts also believe that Delhi elections round the corner, the positive growth trend will continue for a while. “With Delhi elections on the horizon, the national narrative is sure to keep the viewers engaged in the forthcoming weeks as well,” Pandey added.

 (With inputs from Sonam Saini)



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