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Sting taken out of Parliament

Even while Parliament was rocked, the hand on remote had its finger firmly on the pulse, writes Sushmita Bose.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 01:39 IST
Sushmita Bose
Sushmita Bose

Even while Parliament was rocked, the hand on the remote had its finger firmly on the pulse. That’s what TRP ratings are saying for sting operations. Take Operation Duryodhan, Aaj Tak’s cash-for-questions expose. According to television rating agency aMap, viewership (in the news channel segment) of Aaj Tak was 19 per cent on D-Day December 12. On December 5 , Aaj Tak had 18 per cent share, while on November 25 it had 20 per cent. Clearly, not much of a flutter was created in the viewing pattern.

According to TAM data, while Star News’s viewership was 21.7 per cent on December 18, it went up marginally to 22.5 per cent on the 19th — the day the channel aired Operation Chakravyuh. TAM data also reveals that while Aaj Tak had 30.7 per cent share on December 19, its share actually went down to 24.7 per cent the day Operation Duryodhan was aired.

Compare that with India TV’s sting operation on Shakti Kapoor last year: the channel’s ratings soared from 7.5 per cent to 22.4 per cent in that week. Zee News’s “live session” with Gudiya, likewise, sent the channels ratings northwards. More recently, India TV’s Operation Daamu — in which a girl was rescued from a brothel — notched up the channel’s share from 7.5 per cent to 13.2 per cent.

Aniruddha Bahal, editor-in-chief of, who co-engineered Operation Duryodhan, says, “In a way, politics has moved out of the front pages of newspapers,” adding that Aaj Tak did not air the sting in the prime-time slot, “because TRPs was not what it had in mind”.

Chintamani Rao, CEO, India TV, says, “Viewers respond to stories about issues relating to their daily lives — often more than to what one may consider big and important matters.” Siddhartha Mukherjee,

director (communications), TAM Media Research, says, “The audience has to relate to the issue and politics is a domain that bothers only a niche segment.”

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 01:39 IST