Which Politicians Have the Most Face-Time in Election Time?

It is hard to miss: Dutch elections are on their way. In times of elections, it is crucial for politicians to get enough screen time. Which politician succeeds the most? VicarVision and Media Distillery worked together to answer this question!

With the newly developed tool LijstTracker, you can view the amount of minutes that each leader of a Party (in Dutch “lijsttrekker”) has been on television. The automatic facial recognition tools developed by VicarVision can recognise each politician in moving images. Whenever a politician appears on a television program, LijstTracker records the amount of time their face is visible.

Currently the main public service and commercial broadcasts are used for the analysis. LijstTracker also collaborates with Mediabrands and uses ratings of how many people watched the programs. This can give an estimate of how many potential voters each politician reached.
Soon it will also be possible to see which networks broadcast which politician the most. With all the attention for the use and uselessness of polls, politician face-time might be an extra indicator of election success. The tool has already spiked some interest; there has been coverage on it by several Dutch media channels (NRC, Parool, BNR, NU.nl).

So who is winning the face-time competition? It may not come as a surprise that our current Prime Minister Mark Rutte (from the Liberal Party) is high on top. Currently his face is shown on TV almost twice as often as the number two Alexander Pechtold (from the Democratic Party). However, Rutte might want to choose different programs, since Lodewijk Asscher (Labour Party) almost surpasses him when looking at the total amount of viewing hours someone received. Will those that receive the most screen time or reach the most viewers also score high in the elections? Stay tuned, we will find out the 15th of March!