Exclusive | We aim to offer election analytics via an eco-system: CNN-IBN's Tewari

General Election 2014 is the most anticipated elections for India and the world as well. Understandably, it is one event that calls for attention from all geographies across age groups as the population desires every piece of information around the happenings. Thanks to technology, all this information is just a click away. While every channel is in the race to gain maximum viewership, digital traction is gaining high importance. Almost every news channel across languages have devised apps or ecosystems, specially dedicated to Election 2014 for its exit poll analysis. 

With an aim to offer every bit of information with the magnum opus of democracy, CNN-IBN and IBN7 in partnership with Microsoft have devised not only a special app, but an eco-system of analytics for this purpose titled 'CNN- IBN & IBN 7 Microsoft Election Analytics Centre.'

Network 18 has joined hands with technology leader, Microsoft India, to create the CNN-IBN - Microsoft Election Analytics Centre, to power its television and online platforms with election data and analyses. The center has used Microsoft software and hardware technologies to bring deep analysis, trends and data visualization during the General Elections 2014, to its viewers. The center has enabled CNN-IBN and IBN7 viewers to find, search and engage with election data like never before in India through an ‘Indian Election’ app, and online platforms such as IBNLive.com, Firstpost.com, Bing.com and others.

Adgully caught up with Vinay Tewari, Managing Editor, CNN-IBN, to get an understanding about the core idea behind the Analytics Centre, the expectation the channel has from it and more.

Election Analytics Centre is first of its kind initiative brought in by Microsoft and Network18. Sharing the thought behind this initiative, Tewari said, "The rationale was very clear that this election is different from any other election in India. In past it was very complicated as lots of data is involved in it and it was difficult for people to read as there were no tools to merge the data. From 1951, till date there is a mammoth quantity of data which we went through for a high level of technical data integration. The Analytics Centre is a killer combo with Microsoft; information is the real desire of the people and needs to be understood well.

As it requires huge data, we analysis process may come across some hiccups. Sharing some of the challenges they came across, Tewari said, "How to bring in the data is not a task but how to spread it over various charts and sheets, put it into proper metrics and excel sheets is important. We run huge risk with the quantity of data and there is uncertainty with the accessibility of this data to the viewers. Choosing and placing a data out of large complicated data is also a challenge. There is authenticated data by Election commission since 1954 till 2009 which is being used in this Analytics Center. Programming techniques which we are using will bring in election understanding, socio-economic and class-cultural understanding. So with this initiative, we have built filters for segregated data and built-in analysis. We hold pride in stating that our network senses elections very well and this, I believe will be aptly used in this Centre”.

The Analytics Centre works on parameters which include data from urban and rural areas, party wise data, states, age, voter turnout etc. Out of this dozens of raw data we collect, it undergoes a filtration process and get sorted.

On discussing further about the network’s partnership with Microsoft, Tewari added, "I think this is an initiative where two minds meet! As a TV company we need data and as a tech company Microsoft presents that, however, the grammars are very different. I think this partnership happened not only on TV, but has adjoined on live platforms and the app world too. We are the first brand in the game who have thought of something like this, because TV has limited time which we thought could be expanded. Secondly, the PPI screen is at our disposal, as everyone uses touch screen devices today which makes giving data physically an important aspect of the business. The data which we use is available to anchor and this Centre is a happy mix of data programming. However, I must say, this exercise took very long to come into shape”.

Speaking about ‘value addition’ that this initiative will do to the network’s election programming, Tewari said, “National elections happen every 5 years and every network covers everything in their way and play. We have to offer something different and not just report activities. Giving background data and analysis becomes the added advantage to your stories. We felt that the depth in data analytics is missing, and in the run to cover air-time and gain more eyeball numbers, factual data are not projected a lot of times. We have elevated the level of election coverage and also leveled up awareness and interest among our viewers. With the growing online population penetration, high viewership has been more than expected. With depth of analysis and data, we have moved along with time”.


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