'L' effect: Rly minister Laloo's budget speech delivers high on the ratings

MUMBAI: Critics might argue that his railway budget had a soft corner for Bihar but taking into account the high television viewership ratings his budget speech telecast has delivered, railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav is one strong contender for the position of the most popular railway minister India had in the recent past.

According to TAM, the railway budget presented by Laloo Prasad Yadav on 6 July recorded the largest viewership than any other railway minister in the last three years. Here are some facts that show the extent to which the 'L' factor influenced viewership.

Stated as under is the viewership trend of the live telecast of railway budget in 6 metros indexed on 2002 (TAM TG CS 4+).


According to TAM, a comparison of the profile of viewers of Laloo Prasad Yadav's railway budget this year and the profile of viewers of Nitish Kumar's railway budget (TG CS 4+, 6 metroes) indicates the strong hold that Laloo Prasad Yadav has over the masses.

Sec C and Sec D/E constituted for almost 86 per cent of the viewership up from 21 per cent for the last railway budget and consequentially Sec A and Sec B dropped from 78 per cent to only 13 per cent.

A look at the age group break up reveals that Laloo rules over almost everyone even the kids. Last year, Nitish Kumar had 66 per cent of his viewers coming from the 35 plus category, followed by the 15-24 category that garnered 25 per cent. In Laloo's case, it is well distributed over all segments. CS 35 has 34 per cent, CS 25-34 has 31 per cent, 15-24 has 11 per cent and CS+ 14 has 24 per cent.

TAM findings show that Laloo had more female viewership compared to Nitish Kumar. Last year's figures show Kumar finding 65 per cent of his viewership in male segment and 44 per cent in the female segment. In Laloo's case, it has turned out to be 35 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.

A look at how Laloo Prasad Yadav has faired in different states and zones:

According to TAM, the viewership had tripled from 2002 to 2004 and had shown almost 75 per cent increase compared to last year. Adding to this is the fact that not only the viewership time had gone up but the total time on analysis of the railway budget had also gone up by almost three times, some of this increase could, of course, be discounted as there had been an increase in the number of news channels.

But looking at an average of the total time devoted to special analysis of the railway budget across the news channels we can see the 2004 budget telecast recording 145 minutes compared to 2002's 100 and 2003's 69.

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