The 2011 budget day may not have brought with it all the goodies the nation so desired, but it has surely had a positive impact on the nation's television news genre.
The event pushed up the overall news genre audience viewership by an approximate 21 per cent (as per aMap, C&S, 15+), over last year's viewership (February 26, 2010), as all eyes were riveted on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the day.
The reason for the jump is primarily twofold. "Viewership increased this year as there was no major World Cup cricket match held during the day. Moreover, the number of news channels have gone up since last year," says Navin Khemka, senior vice-president, ZenithOptimedia.
While there was a 22 per cent growth within Sec A and B category, Sec C, D and E saw an overall 38 per cent viewership growth in the news genre. Eyeballs were primarily directed towards the business news genre, registering a 84 per cent growth in this segment of viewers, followed by the English news channels with a hike of 73 per cent.
The English news category that witnessed a major boost in viewership during the day, as its audience base jumped by as much as 50 per cent (C&S, 15+) over the 2010 budget day. Last year, the category's relative market share stood at 1.6 per cent, while this year it was at 2.3 per cent.
Says a top media executive, on conditions of anonymity, "This year, the English news channels covered the budget as extensively as any of the other business channels. And, since more viewers tuned into the channels with a lot of hope and anxiety to find out 'what's in it for me', the viewership of the English news category went up."
The Hindi news pie saw a miniscule growth of 9 per cent (C&S, 15+) for the day, as compared to last year. Its viewership was at 5.8 per cent last year on the day, but this year, it captured a 6.3 per cent share this year.
Overall, 37 million viewers tuned in to watch the budget and budget-related news on news channels, this year. The news genre had an increase in viewership by 44 per cent (C&S, 15+) on February 28, as compared to last four months' average, with business news being the obvious choice of viewers, taking it to a hike of 56 per cent in market share.
Interestingly, apart from the core target group viewers, the budget has also created a huge interest base amongst women, CS 15 + female. In fact, their involvement in business news channels increased its market share by 62 per cent.