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PM Narendra Modi, along with UP governor Anandiben Patel, at the foundation stone laying ritual in Ayodhya on Wednesday. (PTI)
PM Narendra Modi, along with UP governor Anandiben Patel, at the foundation stone laying ritual in Ayodhya on Wednesday. (PTI)

Ayodhya Bhumi Pujan ceremony watched by 160 million people

  • On the day of the ceremony, DD National’s YouTube channel garnered more than 10 million watch minutes

NEW DELHI : Over 160 million people watched the live telecast of the Ayodhya Ram Temple Bhumi Pujan ceremony this week, resulting in viewership of more than 7 billion viewing minutes across the TV universe in India, according to state broadcaster Doordarshan.

“The viewership is of Doordarshan’s live coverage which was carried by nearly 200 TV channels during the main events between 10:45 am and 2pm on Wednesday, the 5th of August 2020," Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharti tweeted.

Television monitoring agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) did not respond to Mint’s queries on whether the figures were accurate.

The foundation stone-laying ceremony in Ayodhya was attended by 175 dignitaries including 135 religious leaders. Last November, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the construction of the temple with its verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

On the day of the ceremony, Vempati had told Mint that DD National’s YouTube channel garnered more than 10 million watch minutes.

“While we have to wait for detailed TV viewership data, we have seen tremendous digital traffic for today's live coverage comparable to DD's typical digital performance during other coverages of national significance such as Independence Day and Republic Day," he had added.

Events of national significance ordinarily notch up high TV viewership numbers. For instance, according to BARC data, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation in May on the 20 trillion stimulus package and the extension of the lockdown drew 193 million viewers across 197 television channels. Modi’s 14 April address when he had announced lockdown 2.0 remains unmatched in viewership, having notched up 203 million viewers across 199 TV channels. In comparison, his video message on 3 April for a nine-minute blackout in honour of frontline workers drew 119 million viewers across 199 TV channels, the announcement of the first phase of the lockdown in March had notched up a viewership of 197 million across 201 channels, and his announcement of a janata curfew in March was viewed by 83 million across 192 channels.

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