Since March 16, the CM in Kerala has been providing the public with detailed updates on new cases in the state and the measures taken by its government to “smooth the curve.”
In recent years, series like Vanambadi and Seethakalyanam have become a meeting point in almost every home in Kerala. While general entertainment has always had better ratings than news, there is one daily event that has become very popular now: the 6 p.m. briefings by Kerala’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, on the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Chief Minister diligently updates the state – and Malaysians around the world – about the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions taken by his government every day, people are connecting via television and Internet without fail. And the ratings of the television channels bear witness to this.
Since March 16, the CM in Kerala has been providing the public with detailed updates on new cases in the state and the measures taken by its government to “smooth the curve.” In these 40-minute to one-hour television sessions, Pinarayi covers several bases regarding pandemic and life in pandemic times. He announced the number of positive cases during the day, the data at the district level on the samples tested and the isolated persons. It also informs the state of new government policies, decisions, relief measures and initiatives that will impact the 3.48 crore population of Kerala, its migrant workers and the population of NRI as the world collectively goes through a crisis. unprecedented. Daily press meetings have also greatly reduced the spread of false information.
Interestingly, Pinarayi’s speeches with impassive behavior not only generated jokes and discussions in the state; BARC audience measurement data from Malayalam channels between March 21 and March 27 now shows that CM press meetings at 6 p.m. have turned into a staple for average Malayali.
According to data consulted by TNM, the TRP for the press meeting of the chief minister on eight Malayalam channels (in urban and rural areas) on March 23 had 7.25 rating points. It only increased in the following days, reaching 9.05 rating points as of March 27. On the 8 channels, Asianet News had more audience than the others every day. Anxious Malayalis around the world connect to online channels and streaming to understand where Kerala is.
“There was certainly a peak of views between 6 and 7 pm. Since the lockdown, there has been an increase of nearly 300% in news viewing as many reality TV shows, series and outdoor shows have been suspended. Prior to the lockout, the number of prime-time viewers generally peaked after 7 p.m. But now we see a lot of traffic at 6 p.m. and it only increases until 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., “a journalist working for a Malayalam channel told TNM.
It’s not just TV views, the chief minister’s daily briefings are posted on Facebook and Twitter live on Health Minister KK Shailaja’s official social media pages. Each live video receives an average of almost 4 lakh views on Facebook. Some days this increases to 5 lakh views. Channels are also receiving views via their YouTube shows, which have also seen a significant spike in recent times.
“In general, most people are curious to know if cases have increased in Kerala. They want to know if there are cases in their locality, if there is a spike in such cases, and what the government is doing to contain the spread. Now, when the Chief Minister of State himself provides these details, there is a lot of credibility. And it goes down to the smallest detail covering not only all sections of the population, but also abandoned animals and stray dogs, “Dr Shimna Azeez, doctor at Manjeri Medical College in Malappuram, told TNM, following the daily meetings of the press.
But it is not only supporters of Pinarayi or the CPI (M) who connect at 6 p.m. and consider the press meeting as an important part of their daily routine.
Vijay PM of Palakkad, an avowed critic of Pinarayi Vijayan, watches the press meet daily, but not necessarily the complete broadcast.
“I look at it to know the number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Kerala. It explains things that I think should also be explained by officials. It was during his meeting with the press that I understood that he had asked the channels to waive fees for viewers and that Kerala asked the Gulf countries not to take school fees for these months. I don’t know if all this will be followed after the press meeting, “he said.
The same goes for Nandan, a marketing specialist from Bangalore, who is not a supporter of the CPI (M) but assures that he is catching the 6 pm broadcast on television.
“I have been watching CM Pinarayi’s press conferences regularly at 6 p.m. for several days now. From watching the full briefing at the start to the first few minutes with the numbers, I think the CM should give this to the officials or at least to Shailaja Teacher. While I am not a fan of how the CM simply reads the numbers passively, it is worth saying that it delivers the non-data part convincingly and with passion, like a strong political leader. “
While a section of viewers connects to update themselves on the new cases in Kerala, others are inspired by the subjects surrounding the pandemic that the CM is tackling.
“In one of the meetings, the chief minister advised men to help their wives with household chores during the lockout. The CM talked about the importance of mental health during quarantine, isolation and confinement. The state followed his words by organizing online counseling sessions for people. I did not see any other leader dive into such minute and daily details at a press meeting. He seems confident in his ability to cope with this crisis, and thanks to his effective and clear communication, he inspires confidence in the public, ”said Sajini S, a resident of Kollam, who also listens regularly to the information sessions.