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Not just Ramayan, news programmes on TV also topping charts — over 200% jump in viewership




Representational image of TV news channels.
Representational image of TV news channels.

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New Delhi: News channels have seen massive increase in viewership during the lockdown period, with overall news consumption registering over 200 per cent growth since January this year, which was before the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

According to data in the fourth edition of BARC-Nielsen report released Thursday, average viewership for TV news saw a massive 219 per cent jump for the week between 4 April and 10 April as compared to average viewership of January this year.

The data also revealed that overall television consumption has grown by 38 per cent to 1.2 trillion minutes in the last few weeks as compared to January.

Viewership figures reveal that business news was the most watched and grew by 66 per cent this week, followed by movies that saw a viewership growth of 73 per cent this week.

The data also showed that news apps surged by 83 per cent among premium viewers and there has been a 28 per cent increase in users per week on news websites and 54 per cent increase in number of visits per week on news websites.

There has been a 75 per cent increase in time spent per user per week on video news by news channels streamed on YouTube, Jio TV, Hotstar and Zee5.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fourth address on lockdown extension garnered four billion viewing minutes, the highest among his four addresses on Covid-19.

Also read: Here’s what Indians are watching during Covid-19 lockdown. Spoiler: It’s not Friends reruns

TV news growing over last few weeks

TV news has been garnering massive viewership growth not just this week but over the last month since the lockdown was imposed on 24 March.

For instance, in the week starting 21 March, the news viewership across languages recorded an all time high growth of 298 per cent as compared to the base month of January.

In the same week, the share of news genre on television at all-India level in both prime time and non-prime time grew from 7 per cent in January to 21 per cent, as compared to GEC (General Entertainment Channel) category, which went down to 39 per cent from 52 per cent.

In the very next week from 28 March to 3 April, news viewership across languages recorded a growth of 251 per cent.

Both the earlier weeks had recorded an overall growth of total television viewership as well, in which news consumption had the highest share, followed by movies.

But with the Covid-19 crisis hitting the Indian economy, the growth in television viewership has not been commensurate with the advertisements received by the channels.

Industry body, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Tuesday said news broadcasters are facing instances of advertising inventory being cancelled, with around 50 per cent of it being for top-rated news channels.

DD National continues to be most viewed across genres

The BARC data released Thursday showed that state-run Doordarshan National continued to be the most-watched channel across genres, as it did the previous week, followed by Sun TV and Dangal TV.

As reported by ThePrint last week, the growth was hugely fuelled by the return of classics such as Ramayan, Shaktimaan and Byomkesh Bakshi and the overall rise in TV viewership during lockdown.

The fourth edition of the BARC-Nielsen report also revealed that the percentage duplication for Ramayan was the highest among all Hindi GEC shows, with 73 per cent episodic duplication but 83 per cent weekly duplication. It also said 22 per cent children are watching Ramayan with their grandparents and senior citizens at home.

Mahabharat has also contributed to getting DD Bharati among the top five GECs, with data stating that 25 per cent of the children in the country were watching the series with their grandparents.

According to the data, time spent per user per week on video streaming platforms, including YouTube, grew by 12 per cent in the last week with consumption continuing at 4 hours per week.

Money Heist was the most watched show on Netflix and Mission Mangal on Disney+Hotstar was the top movie this week.

Also read: Bust fake news, ensure positive Covid-19 media coverage: Task for new govt empowered group

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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