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In a Pandemic Situation: The Interest in News and Current Affairs Programs is On the Rise

The expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic has a major impact on the global television and cinema industry. The production of a number of popular series and shows has been cancelled and their broadcasting plans have been delayed. See more here >>

The extraordinary situation reshaped the programming schedules and the content concepts of media companies around the world, as well as in Bulgaria.

As expected, due to the growing interest in news content, the leading TV channels are already giving preference to the news, current affairs shows and special media projects devoted to COVID-19.

"We all know these are challenging times for each and every one of us. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a special role to play at this time of national need. We need to pull together to get through this. That's why the BBC will be using all of its resources - channels, stations and output - to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained,“ BBC director general Tony Hall said earlier.

The information leader and most trusted news source in our country, bTV Media Group, also temporarily relocated its priority resources  to the news, current affairs, breaking newscasts and special programs. A new independent survey by Market Links, the recent data by GARB and the online statistics for March prove that the preferences of the Bulgarian users are similar to those of the viewers across the world.

According to a nationally representative survey of Market Links, conducted among viewers aged 18-54 in the period 9-20 March, bTV is the most trusted TV channel according to nearly 40% of the respondents.

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According to GARB’s data, the special bTV broadcast “The COVID-19 Crisis: All you Need to Know“, aired on March 19th at 7:30 pm, has attracted more than 40% of all viewers (4+).

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The interest in the central newscast of bTV News since March 13th, when the National Assembly voted the announcement of a state of emergency in Bulgaria, has been increasing to reach 41,6% of all viewers in front of the TV screen (GARB, 13-24 March, 4+).

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The same trend is observed for the show Face to Face, which since March 13th is growing in share - to 43,2% on March 20th. The show 120 Minutes retains a traditionally strong interest - an average of 30,5% audience share for the period 1-24 March.

Even more explicit viewership results during the pandemic are demonstrated by the leaders in the morning timeslots This Morning and This Saturday and Sunday, with average shares of 38,9% and 30,1%, respectively (1-24 March, 4+).

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The strongly increased interest in news content, devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic, is visible also in digital. For the period 1-24 March, the btvnovinite.bg website reports 4.2 million users, more than twice in number as compared to the same period last year.