9.6 million viewers watch presidential debate on TV

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga debate in the absence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the presidential debate held at Catholic University of Eastern Africa on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The 2017 Presidential #DebatesKe  attracted an audience of about 9.6 million TV viewers countrywide on television on Monday evening, according to media research company GeoPoll. The company tracked television viewership from 5:00 pm until 9: 30 pm on seven television stations: NTV, Citizen TV, K24, KTN, KTN News, KBC and Inooro TV.

To determine the total viewership, GeoPoll an average of 523 viewers every half hour.

The debates were organised by Debates Media Limited, which brought together eight television stations and more than 30 radio stations, while the live feed was shared with many others.

The 2017 Presidential debates were marked by no-shows. The running mate debate was only attended by Muthiora Kariara, running mate to Dr Japhet Kavinga Kaluyu, and he enjoyed a boost in profile with his twitter followers rising by more than 8000 to 10,200 followers.

The first part of the Presidential debate, which included Dr Ekuru Aukot, Dr Japhet Kavinga Kaluyu and Professor Michael Wainaina began at 5:30 pm, while the second part of the debate, which featured Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga began at 8pm. Mohammed Dida opted not to attend the presidential debate citing discrimination.

On TV, the peak hour was 8:30 pm when 9.6 million people tuned into the broadcast to watch Nasa flagbearer field questions posed by the two moderators, Mr Joe Ageyo of KTN and Mr Linus Kaikai of NTV, after the broadcast delayed for half an hour.

At 5:00pm, 6.6million people were tuned in to the seven radio stations to watch the debate. At 7:00 pm, when the first debate was coming to a close, there were 9.3 million viewers.

The number dipped during the intermission to 8.8 million viewers at 7:30 pm before rising again to 9.3 million viewers at 8:00pm.  The top four TV stations were Citizen, KTN, NTV and KTN News.

There was also substantial coverage online. NTV’s Twitter broadcast via Periscope recorded 2,900 broadcasts for the first part of the presidential debate, while the second portion recorded 9,000 broadcasts.

On NTV’s Facebook page, a peak of 1623 viewers streamed the first part of the debate at the same time, while there were 94500 views in total. A peak of 2694 viewers streamed the second part of the debate live at the same time, while there were a total of 86,000 views. Citizen TV showed a total of 113,656 views on Facebook.  

The Debates Kenya YouTube live stream video attracted 14,313 views for the Presidential Debate and 8126 views for the runners up debate after it was uploaded.

There were 75,861 tweets written on the election from 5:30 pm to 10 pm on July 24, when the debates took place. From 5: 30 to 7:30pm, most of the tweets referenced the three presidential candidates who took part in the first debate. Interest in the Jubilee and Nasa parties started to increase at 7:30 pm as anticipation of Raila Odinga’s arrival at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa grew.

Jubilee reached its peak for the evening at 8:40 pm with 2,598 tweets, compared to Nasa’s 2,098 tweets. Nasa peaked at 10:20 pm with 2,693 tweets.  Most of the tweets that referenced Jubilee expressed disappointment by the failure of President Kenyatta to show up.  The other spikes for Nasa coincided with Mr Odinga’s responses on corruption and integrity.

In total, from 5:00 pm to 10:30, 44 per cent of all the tweets were associated with Jubilee, while another 40 per cent were associated with Nasa. Another 16 per cent of the tweets were tied to neither Jubilee or Nasa. A tweet does not have to be supportive of a political party to be associated with that political party.