Race to the white house commanded 60 per cent of local viewership
Last Tuesday, Jamaicans at home were glued to their television screens for hours, to see who would be declared the next President of the United States. Anticipation built with the announcement of results from each state as viewers turned to one of the many international news networks available on Flow’s digital cable television service. The swelling tide of viewers that flocked to their screens proved once again that the diverse offerings of the broadband provider accurately tap into the needs of the information hungry public.
Tuesday’s election outcome can be described as a nail-biting finish as President Barack Obama successfully won a second term in the Oval Office, staving off the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Jamaican viewers had access to the diverse range of coverage via the news channels carried on Flow’s digital cable TV service.
Michael Look Tong, director of media services at Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, operators of theFlow brand in Jamaica, revealed that viewership of news networks during the election night coverage was “uniquely high”.
“The election coverage was clearly a special situation and, as expected, the numbers confirm that Jamaican’s were very interested in what would be the final outcome,” he said.
According to Look Tong, Flow’s Advertising Intelligence (AI) Reports indicate that during the critical peak hours of 9 pm to midnight, CNN dominated with its coverage of the elections, commanding up 18 per cent of viewership. Our local stations also benefited from the high interest in election coverage as TVJ and CVM secured second and third place rankings throughout the night. NBC and MSNBC followed as other popular choices for viewers. The average percentage of viewership of the top news stations from 9 pm to midnight was 60 per cent of total viewership across Flow’s network during that period.
Leading up to the election, foreign policy experts and leaders of the business community indicated that Jamaica’s position in regards to relations with the US would be the same regardless of outcome of the US Presidential race. The high viewership, however, confirms that many Jamaicans remain concerned with the outcome and its impact on key issues including immigration, the US foreign policy and foreign aid, and energy.
The Jamaican economy is strongly aligned with the recovery of the US economy, and will feel the impact of America’s immigration policies, especially as much of Jamaica’s foreign exchange comes from remittances from Jamaicans within the Diaspora. Tourism interests would also be impacted by America’s economic recovery.
Look Tong admitted that the viewership pattern highlighted by the AI report does not come as a complete surprise. “We expected a strong night for the international cable news channels,” he said. “We carry a diverse range of news channels which provides our customers with the exposure to different points of view.”
Major international news networks carried by Flow include CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg and CNN International. At the eleventh hour when all eyes were on Florida, Flow customers were able to get additional down to the minute coverage from the Florida via NBC (WTVJ), Fox (WSVN), CBS (WFOR), and ABC (WPLG) channels.