Satellite TV channels vie for Ramadan viewership

After the first week of Ramadan, every television channel in Egypt declared it could boast the highest viewership; every scriptwriter asserted that his or her particular series was the best this year.

Marketing research companies specialized in measuring viewership rates of television channels and programs, meanwhile, have yet to reach a consensus on the issue.

Mohamed Ahmed, head of a North Africa-based marketing and research company, said: “We’re a British company that does media research and viewership rating in around 20 countries. Our international reputation makes us keen to maintain impartiality by following scientific methods to obtain the most accurate viewership rates. We hope to do this in Egypt soon.”

According to Dima Kamel, a research official at the same company, “Research is conducted throughout the year. In Ramadan, we issue three reports. The first one is issued after the third day of Ramadan, the second one after the first week and the third one at the end of the holy month.”

Regarding polls conducted by some media channels, Kamel noted, “These polls are done by non-professionals. Sometimes, they are biased in favor of a particular actor, program or television channel, according to interest.” In addition, she added, “Their random samples aren't scientifically-based, since these samples have their own rates and geographical distribution that must be approved by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization And Statistics.”  

Osama al-Sheikh, head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), for his part, said many marketing research companies in Egypt lacked integrity, and were often seduced by monetary inducements. “We don’t deal with such companies," he said. "We have a department at the ERTU that conducts its own research, which is not for publication."

According to al-Sheikh, the Ramadan TV serial "Al-Gamaa"–which purports to tell the life story of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna–"has scored the highest viewership rates, according to our research." He added that the government-run Nile Drama television channel, which has been airing the series, enjoyed the highest viewership rates overall.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Mostafa, a marketing official at Al-Hayah satellite television station, said that, according to the research available to him, "both Al-Hayah and Al-Hayah Series satellite channels are on top.” He went on to say that one of the station's TV serials–"Sheikh al-Arab Hammam"–had been found to enjoy the highest viewership rates. "We didn’t say this, but impartial companies specialized in marketing research did," he insisted.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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