Obama’s oath: News channels record 21 percent viewership rise

January 21st, 2009 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) People across India sat glued to their TV screens to watch history in making live as Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th president of the US. Ratings reflect that viewership for news channels that aired the oath ceremony live shot up by 21 percent in the prime time slot, according to a media research group.

Most Indian news channels telecast the inauguration ceremony live from 9 p.m. Tuesday and as Obama was sworn-in at 10.35 p.m. Indians joined millions around the globe in hailing the change.

According to data provided by TV viewership tracker Audience Measurement and Analytics (aMap), during the prime time slot (7 p.m.- 12 a.m.), the gross rating points (GRP) for news, as a genre, shot up by 21 percent across India as compared to previous days.

Even the average time spent (in minutes) watching news increased by 11 percent indicating that it was indeed a momentous occasion.

Among the prominent Hindi news channels, Zee News was the most watched and garnered 60 percent rise in viewership, while Star News and NDTV India saw a rise of 43 percent each.

The agency’s figures are based on research in 31 markets in the country including Jammu, Guwahati, Bihar and Jharkhand.

The figures reflect on all-India Hindi speaking market (HSM) indicating that the international news was given much diligence despite the language barrier.

There were many like Bangalore-based businessman A. Sairam, who insisted on watching the entire ceremony.

Sairam said: “My family was watching the ceremony the entire time. My wife tried to change the channel, once the swearing in was over - but I put my foot down, I wanted to hear the speech.”

“My mother wanted to watch something else but I insisted… once the ceremony came on every news channel, she too became engrossed,” said Arvind John, a Delhi University student.

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