In the run up to the 2016 Assembly polls in Kerala on May 16, one sector, apart from political parties, that was busy gearing up for the D-day was the media.
From aggressive advertisements to relentless campaigns pitching why their election coverage was different from others, Malayalam news channels went all guns blazing.
But which Malayalam channel did Keralites watch the most on May 19, the day of the poll results?
According to data provided to The News Minute by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, an industry body that measures television viewership, Asianet News was watched the most on May 19.
Asianet News was at the first spot with 26.8 million impressions, while Manorama News came at number 2 with 15.5 million impressions. It was a close battle between Manorama News and Mathrubhumi News with the latter getting 15.1 million impressions.
While these three channels ruled the big chunk of the market, Reporter TV was number 4 with 5.6 million impressions.
People TV, owned by CPI(M) was number 5 with 4.9 million impressions and MediaOne TV got 3 million impressions.
However, it seems that the money spent by all these channels to market their counting day coverage has paid off as the viewership of Malayalam news channels increased by nearly 8 times as compared to the figures of the previous Thursday of the month.
While on May 12, all the Malayalam news channels together got 9 million impressions, on counting day, it was a whopping 71 million impressions. The target audience for regional channels on which these ratings are based is 4+ individuals. (this means individuals above the age of 4, i.e. the entire family).
An advertisement by Manorama News had claimed that they got 2.1 million impressions and were ahead of Asianet News which got 1.8 million impressions. So was this ad misleading? Not exactly.
If you read the fine print of the ad, it says M 22+ between 12 pm to 5 pm.
This means males above 22 years of age watched the channel more during the crucial time band between 12pm-5pm when the results were being announced. This bodes well for the channel as this target group is considered as decision makers and individuals with purchasing power. English news channel ratings in fact are based on M 22+ viewership.
(Impressions is the number of individuals of a target audience who viewed an "Event", averaged across minutes).