Over 19.7 crore people watched Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on Tuesday, in which he announced a complete lockdown in the country for 21 days to battle the coronavirus epidemic, the Hindustan Times reported on Friday, quoting figures released by the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati. This number is higher than the number of people who watched the Indian Premier League final last year – 13.3 crore.
Over 200 news channels, including state broadcaster Doordarshan, had telecast Modi’s speech live. “According to the data shared by BARC [Broadcast Audience Research Council] India the speech by PM Narendra Modi on total lockdown on March 24 had the highest TV viewership [unique viewers greater than IPL finals] with over 201 channels carrying it,” Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Shashi Shekhar said in a tweet.
On YouTube, the number of hits for Modi’s speech on the Doordarshan channel was five lakh. On the Rajya Sabha channel, the number of hits was one lakh.
The prime minister’s address to the country on March 19, announcing a 14-hour “janata curfew”, garnered a viewership of 8.30 crore people across 191 television channels, PTI reported.
Modi’s address on the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019, had a viewership of 1.65 crore people across 163 channels, the Hindustan Times reported. The Article provided special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand, Modi’s address on November 8, 2016 announcing demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was watched by 1.57 crore people on 114 channels.
At least 724 cases of the coronavirus have been detected in India so far, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of these, 20 people have died, 66 have been cured and one has left the country.