Weekly data released by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) shows that Tamil news viewership witnessed a massive spike between August 4 and August 10 compared to previous weeks. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi passed away on August 7.
According to the BARC data between Saturday, 4 August 2018, to Friday, 10 August 2018, the top 5 Tamil news television channels made a combined impression of 4,03,890.
The Hindu said that this demonstrated a 156% spike in viewership from the previous weekly update, which registered an impression of 209 million between July 14 to August 3.
BARC India defines an impression as, “Number of individuals in 000s of a target audience who viewed an ‘Event’, averaged across minutes. Also known as TVT.”
Over just the course of August 7 and 8 alone, Tamil news viewership swelled to 585% at 366 million impressions.
According to The Hindu, television audiences in Chennai spent two hours and forty-three minutes watching the news compared to the thirty-two minute average witnessed in the previous weeks.
The newspaper also reports that the this was the second such spike in viewership after the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa in 2016. The Tamil news genre witnessed 734 million impressions that week.
BARC India collects data using ‘audio watermarking’.
“Audio watermarking embeds audio watermarks in video content prior to upload and broadcast. These watermarks are not audible to the human ear, but can easily be detected and decoded using dedicated hardware or software. The watermark is broadcast along with the content. As viewing details are recorded by the BAR-O-meters, so are the watermarks. The raw data is cleaned, merged with the channel, program, language and broadcast schedule details,” BARC India says.