It's common that news
channels see a spurt in viewership during any major national calamity, or disaster. The same happened during the Mumbai floods on July 26.
TAM figures indicate that the viewership of news channels during the Mumbai deluge (week 28 of 2005) can be compared to any of the major events in India and globally. During this week, news channels clocked a viewership share of 11 per cent across the six metros, which is at par with the viewership during the tsunami incident.
Among the six metros, Mumbai registered the maximum viewership with 17 per cent share. This was even higher than the viewership statistics during tsunami or the Mumbai blasts. On July 26, viewership during prime time dropped by 55 per cent. During Mumbai blasts, and Tsunami, the viewership share of news channels in the total pie was 9 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
What's more, there was a hike in the number of viewers who tuned into news channels in week 28; the time spent by them also increased. As per TAM Media Research (C&S, 4+, six metros), between week 24-27 of 2005, the average time spent per week on news channels was 64 minutes, which increased to 116 minutes in week 28.
Similarly, in the Hindi speaking markets, the average time spent per week increased from 71 minutes to 138 minutes. Even at the all India market, the time spent per week increased from 60 minutes to 94 minutes per week.
If the Mumbai deluge increased the viewership pie of news channels, the general entertainment channels or the mass channels saw a decline in viewership. In the last four weeks prior to the deluge, general entertainment channels enjoyed a 35 per cent share in the total viewership pie of Mumbai. Their share dropped to 27 per cent in week 28.
However, the viewership growth for news channels doesn't result to an increase in revenue. As Hiren Pandit, general manager, MindShare Mumbai, says, "Both news channels and advertisers refrain themselves from advertising during such events. However, the viewership growth helps them in the longer run. Once a news channel reaches a high point, its viewership stabilizes at a higher level for the next few weeks."
Another Delhi-based media planner says, "During such incidents, news channels try to enhance their brand and increase their credibility among advertisers and viewers with better coverage."
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