Unraveling the Dynamics of Television Debates and Social Media Engagement: Insights from an Indian News Show


  • Kiran Garimella Rutgers University
  • Abhilash Datta IIT Kharagpur




The relationship between television shows and social media has become increasingly intertwined in recent years. Social media platforms, particularly Twitter, have emerged as significant sources of public opinion and discourse on topics discussed in television shows. In India, news debates leverage the popularity of social media to promote hashtags and engage users in discussions and debates on a daily basis. This paper focuses on the analysis of one of India's most prominent and widely-watched TV news debate shows: 'Arnab Goswami -- The Debate'. The study examines the content of the show by analyzing the hashtags used to promote it and the social media data corresponding to these hashtags. The goal is to understand the composition of the audience engaged in social media discussions related to the show. The findings reveal that the show exhibits a strong bias towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with over 60% of the debates featuring either pro-BJP or anti-opposition content. Social media support for the show primarily comes from BJP supporters. Notably, BJP leaders and influencers play a significant role in promoting the show on social media, leveraging their existing networks and resources to artificially trend specific hashtags. Furthermore, the study uncovers a reciprocal flow of information between the TV show and social media. We find evidence that the show's choice of topics is linked to social media posts made by party workers, suggesting a dynamic interplay between traditional media and online platforms. By exploring the complex interaction between television debates and social media support, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of the evolving relationship between these two domains in the digital age. The findings hold implications for media researchers and practitioners, offering insights into the ways in which social media can influence traditional media and vice versa.




How to Cite

Garimella, K., & Datta, A. (2024). Unraveling the Dynamics of Television Debates and Social Media Engagement: Insights from an Indian News Show. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 18(1), 435-447. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v18i1.31325