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


New Delhi : 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.

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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.