India’s media owners have benefited from the recent election spending spree and news channels (and their digital platforms) got another boost as viewership and engagement surged on counting day and brands took advantage.

“We are excited to share that logged 32 million viewers on the counting day and experienced a 137% growth in direct traffic,” Shridhar Mishra, VP, Digital Sales, Asianet News & Entertainment, told Exchange4Media.

“We also witnessed a 200% growth in our video views; mobile app engagement witnessed stupendous growth of 929%. We got 500% growth on our revenue on the Election Counting Day itself,” he added.

BARC data has shown that viewership in both the Hindi and English News genres grew by more than 100% in the week after the end of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, driven by a massive peak on counting day (May 23).

“Almost all TV channels also relied heavily on their digital platforms to boost eyeballs,” noted India Legal. “They added a micro view of the elections with real-time data.”

With its focus on regional languages, claims to be the largest vernacular news platform (minus Hindi & English) on comScore. “Our Malayalam Digital Live TV alone gets over 350 million minutes of watch time per month,” said Mishra. “We have more than 25 million unique active visitors and more than 330 million page views on a monthly basis.”

He added that female audiences are a big untapped space in the vernacular market which Asianet News is focusing on.

The elections were the most expensive ever, as political parties invested in every available channel in search of voter support.

Spending totalled almost Rs 600bn (US$8.7bn) – or twice that in the 2014 election – according to figures from the Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi.

Sourced from Exchange4Media, India Legal, MxM India; additional content by WARC staff