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Tonight's attraction: the news - Part I

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 01, 2001
The coverage of the events in New York has overshadowed even tragedies closer to home, such as the Bhuj earthquake on January 26



agencyfaqs!
MUMBAI, October 1

After September 11, there has been little else on television. Other than news about a nightmare come true. In New York.

Not that it was the biggest killing ever. Many more have died. In Rwanda. Cambodia. Sierra Leone. Or in the earthquake in Bhuj (Gujarat). Except that those nightmares did not get as much coverage as Black Tuesday in NY. Or that many viewers.

News coverage of the events in New York by both international channels and Indian channels has been unprecedented, topping even the other major stories of the year, such as the earthquake in January in Bhuj, in which more than 50,000 people died. The TAM figures for the week 21 January 2001 to 27 January 2001, the week the Bhuj earthquake (26 January) took place, and the week 9 September 2001 to 15 September 2001, when the New York attacks (September 11) took place reveal an interesting picture. Across all news channels, international as well as regional, the number of viewers in C&S homes in SEC A and B, among those over the age 15, was much more than when the earthquake in Gujarat.

Take STAR News. In the week of the Bhuj earthquake the percentage reach of STAR News in Mumbai was 27.98. For the week of the New York attacks, it was 37.52. In Calcutta, for the week of the Bhuj earthquake, STAR News reached 17.68 per cent. For the week of the New York attacks, it was 53.17 per cent. The corresponding figures in Delhi were 24.69 per cent versus 43.64 per cent, and in Chennai 11.84 per cent versus 16.19 per cent. In Bangalore it was 21.49 versus 15.88; in Hyderabad 21.64 versus 33.78; in Ahmedabad 40.19 versus 21.8, a figure that bucks the trend, perhaps reflecting the anxiety of Ahmedabad then that it would be the next to come tumbling down. And in Cochin it was 18.06 versus 27.38.

In the week of the Bhuj earthquake the percentage reach of CNN in Mumbai was 8.37. For the week of the New York attacks, it was 20.35. In Calcutta, for the week of the Bhuj earthquake, CNN's reach was 3.01. For the week of the New York attacks, it was 29.66 per cent. The corresponding figures in Delhi were 2.84 per cent versus 14.88 per cent, in Chennai 8.73 per cent versus 23.51 per cent. In Bangalore 7.1 per cent versus 22.92; in Hyderabad, 6.41 versus 28.28; in Ahmedabad, 13.73 versus 29.99. And in Cochin 9.5 per cent versus 29.58 per cent.

Take the other big international channel BBC. In the week of the Bhuj earthquake, the percentage reach of BBC World in Mumbai was 17.11. For the week of the New York attacks, it was 34.68. In Calcutta, for the week of the Bhuj earthquake, BBC World reached 14.14 per cent. For the week of the New York attacks, it was 46.75 per cent The corresponding figures in Delhi were 10.54 per cent versus 17.33 per cent; in Chennai 14.98 per cent versus 27.81 per cent; in Bangalore 19.87 versus 35; in Hyderabad 14.98 versus 26.01; in Ahmedabad 25.96 versus 33.38; and in Cochin 33.89 versus 53.07.

Allowances must be made for the fact that the attacks took place on a Tuesday, while the earthquake struck on a Friday. Or that the attacks took place live, while information about the earthquake took some time to filter in. Yet, at the same time, the evidence is quite convincing that Indian news channels and foreign news channels were flooded with viewers, seeking more knowledge and more insight into a tragedy that occurred far from Indian shores. In fact, according to TAM figures for September 11 to 14, right after the attacks took place, there was a 14-fold jump in news channel viewership. And in cities like Cochin, where viewers normally watch news as part of the Surya TV or Asianet coverage, rather than tune in to regular news channels, viewership went through the roof. There was a near 50 per cent jump in viewership on Tuesday.

Why did this happen? Why did so many more Indians tune on to news to watch the events as they unfolded in NY? Are we getting used to living with calamities at home?

(To be continued on October 3)

© 2001 agencyfaqs!