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The popularity of PM Narendra Modi surges, becomes the most-watched personality on television in India last year: BARC report

"Each time PM Modi's coronavirus-related addresses were aired, there was a noticeable drop in the viewership of major genres like General Entertainment Channels (GEC), Movies and Kids," the BARC report added.

PM Narendra Modi is known for having a huge fan base on social media. While, in 2017 he became the top followed leader on Facebook globally, last year, Modi went on to become the first Indian to have over 50 million followers on Twitter and the third global leader to achieve the milestone. Recently, the photograph of PM Modi landing in Kolkata went viral, clocking over 1 million likes on Facebook in less than 24 hours. Now, the latest data reveals that much the same as his social media fan-base, the impact of PM Modi on television has also been multiplying.

The annual TV viewership report for 2019-2020 by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) suggests that PM Narendra Modi remains the most-watched personality on television in India for the year 2020. From his public addresses regarding the ongoing Covid pandemic to his speech on India being at the forefront of exporting Covid-19 vaccines to the ongoing farmer protests, all have garnered an exemplary response from television viewers.

“Whether they are his interviews, speeches at global events, addresses to the nation or even a wildlife adventure show, channels that broadcast the content see their viewership leapfrog and set new levels,” the report stated, explaining the impact PM Modi on his television fan-base.

Notably, PM Modi’s speech at Red Fort, which was over two hours long, garnered 133 million viewers. This was 40 per cent more as compared to his Independence Day speech in 2019. Similarly, the Prime Minister’s speech on March 24, 2020, where he announced the first lockdown, saw more viewing minutes than any of his previous addresses.

Modi’s address to the nation in April 2020, where he announced a relief package of Rs 20 lakh crores, became the most-watched public address. It garnered an overwhelming over 203 million viewers tuning in.

Likewise, his call for solidarity by switching off lights for nine-long minutes reflected a 60 per cent drop in TV viewership during those nine minutes.

it may be noted that as per Twitter also the ‘light a lamp’ tweet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the most retweeted tweet in the category of politics last year. Prime Minister Modi had posted pictures with a burning lamp and had also urged the public to follow suit to switch off all the lights of the house and stand in the balcony after lighting a lamp, switching on the flashlight of their mobile phone or holding a torch. He had said that this collective expression of purpose and togetherness would help the nation get through this time of crisis. His tweet was retweeted 118.4k times and had 513.2K likes.

“Each time PM Modi’s coronavirus-related addresses were aired, there was a noticeable drop in the viewership of major genres like General Entertainment Channels (GEC), Movies and Kids,” the BARC report added.

The report also notes that due to the pandemic, and subsequent rise in the inquisitiveness to know about government measures and announcements, the news related to the same saw the total TV viewership tripling as compared to the yearly growth of seven per cent previously.

Speaking on the decision of the national TV channel Doordarshan to re-telecast “Ramayan” and “Mahabharat”, the report said that it proved quite beneficial for the channel which witnessed its total viewership growing by 68 per cent last year. “The fact that no new content was being created because of Covid guidelines, archived content made a huge comeback and Doordarshan (DD) was probably the biggest benefactor”, it said.

“Regional movies genre posted a higher growth than their Hindi counterpart, although Hindi language genre accounted for close to 60 per cent of total movie genres viewership. Apart from Hindi, the other major markets for the genre were Telugu, Tamil and Kannada,” the report added.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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