Guest Column: Seductiveness of law, crime & TV news pumped up ratings
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Guest Column: Seductiveness of law, crime & TV news pumped up ratings

New Delhi, 28-April-2023, By IBW Team

Guest Column: Seductiveness of law, crime & TV news pumped up ratings

By Pankaj Krishna

The seductive combination of law, crime and TV news could be mindboggling. As time ran out on the famed mafia don turned politician from the boroughs of Prayagraj, the news broadcasting industry once again reigned tall by cashing in on the exclusive tidings of this sensational story!

The hell froze over!! Such were the events that unfolded before us on TV screens on April 15, a Saturday at 10.30 pm during Week-16.

We witnessed a grizzly shootout, a live execution and a post murder surrender – all within a span of first 24 hours. It had all the ingredients required to create a captivating stream of audience that can come as rare as hen’s teeth.

Media frenzy was the most expected outcome and TV news swiftly turned its attention to churning out as many segments as possible from these sensational tidings.

Ever since the assassination of Atiq Ahmed and his brother while being taken to the hospital by the police, which got aired live on TV on April 15, the news channels have constantly aired back-to-back segments featuring this very contentious event.

In fact, the footage — showing the walk of the two convicts from the

police van till the moment when they were shot dead at point blank range — has probably become the highest viewed sensation ever on Indian news screens.

One key driving force that emerged from the changes enacted back in 1990s post the liberalization of the Indian economy was that it paved the way for privatization of news, thereby allowing more players to enter the free-market realm, unburdened by any centralized power or authority over its content format.

The second driving force is the content itself that showed double murders of two famed gangsters against the backdrop of a highly contested political landscape.

As per Chrome Digital Track, the news genre saw a substantial rise in viewership between 10.30 pm to 11.30 pm on the fateful day. The hike was witnessed around 10.40 pm mark post which it saw a gradual increase in its concurrent views till the end of the segment.

Aaj Tak was the top gainer by reaching 4,77,982 concurrent viewers at peak viewing times. Zee News and Republic Bharat followed in second and third ranks with both channels reaching their peak towards the end at 1,44,062 and 89,052 concurrent views, respectively.

TV news, as many are aware, is yet another hungry beast that feeds on any stories exuding action, crime or horror. And, when a story finally comes around that blends all the elements, as rare as they may be, the audience will explicitly savour it with equal passion — as any new-age thriller. In this case too, TV news was generously rewarded with viewers’ renewed interest and blinding ratings score.

(The author Pankaj Krishna is the founder and CEO of Chrome Data Analytics & Media, a technology-driven market research firm with a pan-India on-ground presence. The views expressed are personal and is not responsible for them.)

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