A comprehensive nationwide survey by the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA) has revealed that television viewership and radio listenership stood at a high 93.2 percent in Sharjah, compared to 91.7 percent in the UAE as a whole.

Fifty-six percent of the surveyed audience watch television for less than 5 hours a day; around 23 percent watch for 5-10 hours daily; while 9 percent spend between 10 to 15 hours on TV programmes.

The survey revealed the wide reach of the SBA channels and stations across the UAE. Sharjah TV clocked 64 percent viewership, while Sharjah Radio had a listenership of 60 percent. The listenership of Pulse 95 Radio was 41.5 percent, and that of Quran Radio was more than 68 percent.

The survey conducted by SBA in cooperation with OMNES Media aimed to gauge the outreach and popularity of SBA’s TV and radio channels, and the UAE audience’s evaluation of their offerings. With people spending more time at home due to Covid-19, the survey also highlights the change in preferences and interests of audiences and whether and how it had affected their choice of content.

Commenting on the survey results, His Excellency Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of SBA, said that the survey sample covered all segments of the UAE community in terms gender, age nationality and educational level, was conducted by a third party to ensure precise and transparent results. 

He added: "The local broadcasting sector lacks updated information and reliable data on its audience outreach, programming and content demand. This is the reason SBA included periodic surveys into its new strategy so as to better understand the UAE audience, and provide the kind of content that viewers and listeners desire.”

About 26,000 people participated in the survey, and were sent digital questionnaires via e-mail or on social media by the OMNES Media Survey system. The survey is in line with the SBA’s objectives to continually improve its content through research and invest in innovative programming across its radio and television channels, thereby catering to audiences across Sharjah and the UAE.

Viewership and listenership trends

The survey results indicated that 68 percent of the respondents prefer to watch television in the evening, 15 percent at midnight, and the remaining 17 percent prefer daytime. Furthermore, 67 percent of the survey respondents listen to radio in the morning, 27 percent at mid-day and the remaining 16 percent from evening to around midnight.

Thirty-five percent of participants prefer music programmes, 31 percent talk shows, 15 percent news programmes, while 11.6 percent like religious shows and 2 percent sports programmes. 

Audience demographics

In terms of demographics, 32 percent of the participants were residents of Sharjah and Dubai. Abu Dhabi accounted for 21 percent of the respondents, Ajman 9 percent, and the other Emirates 6 percent.

Fifty-three percent of the participants were males. The highest number of participants – 46 percent – belonged to the 31-40 year age group category; 20-30 year olds accounted for 31 percent, those aged 41-50 accounted for 19 percent.  Around 4 percent respondents were above 50 years of age.

Sixty-three percent of the respondents were married, 37 percent single, and 2 percent belonged to other categories. Education-wise, 3 percent of the participants held doctorates, 12 percent had master’s degrees, 66 percent were college graduates, while 19 percent were high school graduates or below.

Source: National Network Communications (NNC)