NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation this week on the ₹20 trillion stimulus package and the extension of the covid-19 lockdown drew 193 million viewers across 197 television channels, according to data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).
On Tuesday, Modi announced an aggressive bailout package aimed at softening the devastating impact of the coronavirus lockdown that has rendered millions jobless and pushed thousands of businesses to the brink of bankruptcy. The fiscal package, comprising about 10% of India’s gross domestic product also aims to build a self-reliant India. Details of the package were being announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman starting Wednesday.
In terms of viewership, Modi's 14 April address when he had announced lockdown 2.0 remains unmatched, having notched up 203 million viewers across 199 TV channels. His video message on 3 April, for a 9-minute blackout in honour of frontline workers, had drawn 119 million viewers across 199 television channels. The announcement of the first phase of the lockdown in March had notched up a viewership of 197 million across 201 channels, while his announcement of janata curfew in March was viewed by 83 million people across 192 channels.
In terms of viewing minutes, however, Modi’s address this week beat all others, 4.2 million minutes compared to 3.9 million minutes on 14 April and 3.8 million minutes in March when the 21-day lockdown was first announced.
In contrast, Modi’s address on Article 370 in August had drawn 65 million viewers across 163 channels and the demonetization announcement in November 2016 had notched 57 million viewers across 114 channels.
The 2019 IPL (Indian Premier League) finals, a marquee event, on the other hand, notched up 133 million viewers.
Modi’s television appearances generally draw a big audience. His appearance on survival television series Man vs Wild had pushed broadcasting channel Discovery up the ratings chart last year, according to BARC. Discovery Channel had notched up the third spot in the 9-10 pm viewing slot when the show aired on 12 August 2019, with 3.05 million impressions. It was the third highest viewership in the slot after Hindi general entertainment channel leaders Star Plus (3.67 million) and Zee TV (3.3 million).
Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.