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Independence Day celebrations drive viewership for Doordarshan

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-08-2017 Harveen Ahluwalia

New Delhi: On 15 August, the live telecast of the Independence Day celebration in the capital was watched by more than 25 million people across 22 channels of state-owned broadcaster Doordarshan, according to data from television viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India.

Between 6:30am and 9am on 15 August, Doordarshan viewers more than doubled to 26.8 million from 11.4 million in the week-ago period as India celebrated 70 years of Independence.

Doordarshan operates a total of 23 regional and national channels across the country, one of which is not mapped by Barc India. During the two and half hours of celebration, Doordarshan channels recorded 17.8 million impressions, up from 3.8 million in the week-ago period. Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.

“We have introduced this type of programming for the first time and it has reflected in the overall viewership. The celebration was followed by musical programmes and movies. It was an experiment to see how DD can mix entertainment with public interest programming to engage audiences,” said Shashi Shekhar Vempati, chief executive officer of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.

Doordarshan’s Independence Day programming line-up earned the broadcaster more than Rs5 crore in advertising revenue, the highest ever amount earned in a day. “For the first time in the history of DD, the broadcaster saw such high interest from the advertisers. This type of revenue has never been earned,” said a DD official, who did not want to be named.

While Hindi news channels across the country, which received Independence Day feed from Doordarshan, saw a 1.9 times rise in viewership (compared with the average of the same time period in the previous four weeks), the viewership of English news channels grew seven times.

On the completion of 70 years of Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the country a new slogan—Unify India (Bharat Jodo). During his speech, he outlined the vision of building a “New India” that is free of corruption and terrorism, caste and religious differences, and where all Indians have access to housing, electricity and water.

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