New Delhi: More Indians are watching the Republic Day parade on television, according to numbers released by television viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc).
On 26 January, 38 million people across the country tuned into Doordarshan channels as India celebrated its 69th Republic Day, the latest viewership data shows. In 2017, 22.2 million people watched the parade.
The parade was aired on 20 Doordarshan channels, including the flagship DD National.
Between 9AM and 12PM on 26 January, the overall viewership of DD network jumped 33% to 7.4 million impressions from 5.6 million impressions in 2017. Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.
“A lot of effort went into the Republic Day coverage this time. We were prepared in advance especially on the digital front. The parade has so far been watched by more than 2.5 million people online," said Shashi Shekhar Vempati, chief executive at Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan.
News channels across the country, which received the Republic Day feed from Doordarshan, also saw an increase in the viewership. While Hindi news recorded a viewership of 9.2 million impressions (up from 7.9 million in 2017), English news registered 620,000 impressions (against 310,000 in 2017).
However, the jump in viewership to some extent can also be attributed to changes in the way Barc measures viewers. In March 2017, Barc India updated and aligned its TV viewership, after which the total number of households with television sets rose to 183 million from 154 million in 2013.
The highlight of this year’s Republic Day celebrations were the 10 South-East Asian leaders who attended the event as chief guests. Apart from marching contingents, defence weaponry, there were 23 tableaux showcasing the historical, art and cultural heritage of the country, displayed on Rajpath.
In a first, All India Radio (run by Prasar Bharati) also showcased its tableaux, featuring Mahatma Gandhi’s maiden broadcast of 1947.
“38 cameras were deployed for the live telecast of the event from Rashtrapati Bhavan to Red Fort. It was not possible to produce live telecast of event with OB vans alone; for the first time, we had installed a production control room at Rajpath," said Supriya Sahu, director general at Doordarshan.