A mamily watching TV in their Sharjah home. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan / Gulf News

Dubai: Almost every adult in the UAE spent an average time of six hours 48 minutes (408 minutes) watching TV per day, during the first two weeks of Ramadan (June 6-21), reported the Pan-Arab Research Centre (PARC).

The centre’s findings are based on a study, which included a sample of 1,700 people — Emiratis and Arab expats, both male and female over 15 years.

Overall viewership is higher this Ramadan than previous years, with overall TV reach reported at 99 per cent, said Sami Raffoul, general manager at PARC.

“This indicates that almost all adult Arabs aged 15 years and over have spent some time watching TV on an average day during the holy month,” he added.

The five most watched TV channels during Ramadan were MBC1, Dubai Al Oula, Abu Dhabi Al Oula, Sama Dubai, and MBC Drama.

Raffoul explained that in previous years, reach was in the range of 93 to 97 per cent, noting a two per cent increase this year.

“Reach has significantly increased across the day-parts with progressive substantial increases seen starting at the midday period — 34 per cent — this year compared with 29 per cent last year,” said Raffoul.

Peek hours

He pointed out that reach increased around 3pm attaining 51 per cent this year vs 44 percent last year, and pushed even further to attain a peak of 87 per cent this year vs 81 per cent last year during the day-part (6pm-9pm). The trend continued to slightly increase for the rest of the evening.

The report showed that peek TV viewing timings were between the hours of 3pm and 12am. Around 87 per cent of viewers in the UAE watched an average of one hour and 42 minutes of TV between 6pm and 9pm during the first two weeks of Ramadan. The number slightly decreased during the second half of Ramadan (June 18-28), where 81 per cent of viewers watched an average of one hour and 33 minutes of TV during the same hours.

Some of the most popular shows on the Arabic screens returning every year include Bab Al Hara, Shabeeyat Al Cartoon, and Just for Laughs Gags.

The findings also show that the Arab female, whether Emirati or expat, watched the most hours of TV with seven hours, 55 minutes (475 minutes) a day.

“The amount of time spent watching TV on an average day of Ramadan has also escalated this year, and scores an even higher average among UAE nationals at seven hours, six minutes (426 minutes) on an average day of the holy month,” said Raffoul.

He explained that the finding is equivalent to a substantial 15 per cent overall increase in net time spent viewing TV programmes, which does not include time used for changing channels or in search across channels that viewers do not recall.

Viewership of TV in the UAE during the last two weeks of Ramadan (June 18-28) slightly decreased to an average of three hours and 53 minutes per day.

Why so high?

The reasons for high TV viewership is mainly based on viewers’ daily routines during Ramadan.

“The top league channels have prepared and dressed up quite well for this season and it appears that programme schedules have harmoniously matched the viewing times of the general public resulting in extended viewing times,” said Raffoul.

He pointed out that the challenge for channel managers across all stations will be to maintain the level of programmes’ quality and quantity at their public’s expectations after the Eid.

“It seems this Ramadan programming was one of the best in past five years, and has raised the bar for many years to come,” said Raffoul.


Box: Most popular shows on TV during Ramadan

Ramadan Drama:

MBC1: Selfie 2, Ma’amon Wa Shorkah, Ramez Yala’ab Bel Nar, Bab Al Hara 8 and Haret Al Sheikh

Dubai Al Oula and Sama Dubai: Shabeeyat Al Cartoon and Makan Fi Al Qaleb

Abu Dhabi Al Oula: Khwyant Watan, Sabe’e Arwah, Al A’arab, Samarqand and Grand Hotel


Varieties/local programmes:

MBC 1: Al Sadmah

Dubai Al Oula: Ma’an Nastate’s and mixed varieties show

Sama Dubai: Just for Laughs Gags, Al Madfaa

Abu Dhabi Al Oula: Daroob 3 and Awanak


Health and medical programmes:

Dubai Al Oula: Seha Wa Sa’ada

Abu Dhabi Al Oula: Fakar Bil Seha