On election result day, it's Aaj Tak that gets viewers' vote

MUMBAI: When it mattered the most, the leader has outdone the others (and itself in a manner of speaking) once again. The great Indian elections are over with the Congress emerging as a winner beating all expectations. And so did Aaj Tak in the way viewers took to its coverage of the elections.     

Election results day saw Aaj Tak surging ahead, leaving arch rivals NDTV India and Star News wondering what hit them. Aaj Tak emerged winner on 13 May on all counts - be it in the channel share or the top 10 election special programmes or the top election related satirical show on news channels.

The news channel shares for the week prior to the election countdown (2 May to 8 May) of Aaj Tak stood at 27 per cent, whereas that of NDTV India was a close second with 25 per cent according to Tam data in the CS 4+ years Hindi speaking market. Star News had a channel share of 20 per cent whereas Zee News stood with 11 per cent. DD News managed nine per cent whereas Sahara Samay got the least channel share among news channels with eight per cent in the same period.

In the most crucial week of the elections from 9 May to 15 May, however, Aaj Tak's channel share rose four per cent to 31 per cent, followed by NDTV India's share dropping three to 22 per cent. Star News dipped four per cent in that week thus standing at 16 per cent, whereas Zee News and DD News managed to add one per cent to its previous week's share and were at 12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Now coming to the most crucial day of all - 13 May, which would finally reveal which news channel stood the test and proved its worth. Aaj Tak was indomitable yet again with a channel share of 36 per cent, leaving NDTV India, which managed 20 per cent, a distant second by a margin of 16 per cent! Star News was further back at 13 per cent while Zee News managed 12 per cent. DD News and Sahara Samay were with 11 per cent and nine per cent respectively.

The story was the same across all the parameters for which TAM data was made available to Among the Top 10 election special programmes, Aaj Tak's show Aap Ka Faisala made a clean sweep by dominating all 10 spots standing tall with TVRs of 2.17 in the first position and that of 1.79 in the tenth position.

There was one area though, that Aaj Tak couldn't mach up to it's "Sab Se Tez" credo, and that's on the channel reach front. Among the Top 10 election special programmes, it was Sahara Samay National's Zor-04 Kiska Hai Kal that beat the stalwarts claiming a reach of 11.14 per cent. The show also dominated the second slot with a reach of 8.71 per cent. Claiming the third, fourth and the fifth spot was NDTV India's Vote 2004 - Top Stories. Aaj Tak's Aap Ka Faisala stood sixth with a reach of 6.9 per cent. Star News, Zee News, Sahara Samay failed to feature here but DD News raised its head with Janadesh 2004 in the ninth spot with a reach of 5.75 per cent.

Satire on news channels too dominated the elections coverage with all news channels roping in popular faces as anchors. Needless to say Aaj Tak once again bagged the top slot with its satirical show JBC with Jaaved Jaffery. The show managed a TVR of 0.26 (weighted average of all episodes in the CS 4+ years Hindi speaking markets from the period 4 April to 15 May. Star News' much talked about show with Shekhar Suman as the host - Poll Khol was close with a TVR of 0.23 for the same period. Zee News' Chunavi Bhatti with comedian Jaspal Bhatti and NDTV India's Gustakhi Maaf also featured in the Top five satirical shows.

Also notable is the fact that the most preferred time band to watch election related programming was in the evening. The time band at which viewership peaked for news channels was 10:30 pm. This time band got maximum viewership with a TVR of 1.4+ for all Hindi news channels.

"Elections = NDTV. It's in our DNA" may have been a line that everyone in the media readily accepted, but in the viewer's choice award category, it has been Aaj Tak that walked away with all the laurels

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