The 2004 general elections were a bonanza for the Indian media with poll-related advertisements fetching them Rs 175 crore (Rs 1.75 billion) in a matter of four weeks.
According to an analysis by TAM Media Research, the electronic and print media have benefited the most from the polls, taking home Rs 137.7 crore (Rs 1.377 billion).
About Rs 93 crore (Rs 930 million) of this income came from advertisements by the BJP, Congress and their allies.
TAM said advertisement revenues for channels had started going up almost 3 weeks before the viewerships started rising.
Atul Phadnis, vice president, TAM Media Research, said: "It was an exceptional election. A host of records have been created. That viewership during the polls far surpassed the levels seen during the September 11 Parliament attack and the 1999 elections came as a major surprise."
According to Phadnis, what perhaps made it even more interesting was that the elections were taking place in 4 phases, thereby increasing the suspense for the 407 million potential Indian TV viewers.
The steepest increase in viewership was seen in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat Delhi and Mumbai.
On the day of the counting, the viewership of news channels was up 5 times at 34 per cent.
The TAM analysis also shows an exceptional spurt in viewership levels of news channels compared with other genre for the specified period.
The counting period saw a whopping 70 per cent growth in time spent compared with the average over the previous weeks.
Besides, the viewership share of news channels for the counting period shot up to 9.3 per cent. This is almost seven times more than the 1999 elections.
The percentage channel share for news genre shot up from an average of 5 per cent to almost 7 per cent during the four weeks of elections. This had further gone up to 9 per cent during the counting period.
TAM analysis said sports channel viewership dipped from 5.9 per cent to 1.5 per cent during the period, while regional channel viewership slipped from 25.8 per cent to 25.5 per cent. The viewership of Hindi mass channels fell from 32.6 per cent to 31.9 per cent.