News viewership grew by 60% during budget speech

Over 20 mn eyeballs of unique viewers were glued to the news channels screen

MUMBAI: The biggest financial event of the country—Budget 2020 -- has helped news channels, especially business news channels across segment to increase their viewership substantially, a data from Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) says.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave the longest budget speech from 11 am to 1.43 pm on 1 February. The Hindi, English and Hindi+English business news channels recorded a rise of over 60 per cent to 3 million impressions during these 2 hours and 43 minutes.

Moreover, at least 22 million eyeballs of unique viewers were glued to the screen of business news channels across genre, which posted growth of over 30 per cent.

BARC on its official twitter handle mentioned: “During #Budget2020, Indian news viewership saw an impressive growth with regards to impressions and unique viewers!”

The budget viewership was recorded during week 5 of BARC that was compared to the same time slot of week 4 of the weekly impressions. BARC in its Twitter post said: “The growth in impressions were considered over the previous week 4 during the same time period from 11 am to 1.43 pm.”

The audience measurement body also said in its micro-blogging post that BBC World News has been excluded as the budget speech wasn’t aired live by the channel.

Despite Budget 2020, the viewership of general news channels across genre were slowed down in week 5 (1-7 February) as compared to week 4 (25-31january), the BARC mentioned on its website.

However, the budget being the most important event for the business news channels, both CNBC TV18 of Network18 group and ET Now of Times News Network, in the English category, grew by over 100 per cent to 727 and 266 weekly impressions in week 5 respectively.

The Reliance group-owned business news channel, CNBC TV18 being the leader in the business news channel in week 4 had garnered 275 weekly impressions. On the contrary, ET Now had received 123 weekly impressions in week 4.

In the Hindi business news category, both Network18’s CNBC Awaaz, and Zee Entertainment Enterprise’s Zee Business grew by 21 per cent and 41 per cent respectively during Budget week. The former garnered 2492 weekly impressions, whereas the latter settled at 2131 impressions in week 5 as compared to 1965 and 1249 impressions in week 4 respectively.

Week 5 was considered to be weak compared to week 4, as it had no major important event for news channels to keep viewers engaged except for the Budget 2020 and Delhi poll campaigns that concluded on February 6. Whereas, week 4 had seen many national importance events such as Republic Day, Delhi Assembly poll campaigns, and the Shaheen Bagh firing. 

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