NDTV India lays claim to No. 2 Hindi news channel status

MUMBAI: By the looks of it, there has been a change of baton as far as the Number 2 position in the Hindi news channel space is concerned.

Nine months after launch, NDTV India has consolidated its position and is the clear second behind leader Aaj Tak, asserts Raj Nayak, chief executive of NDTV Media, the marketing and ad sales concern that was set up to coincide with the launch of NDTV India and NDTV 24x7 last March.

Quoting TAM Media data for the last one month for the key adult male 25+ demographic, Nayak says that on both cumulative reach and channel share, only Aaj Tak remains ahead of NDTV India. What is important to note here, says Nayak, is that this data is for a one-month period and not some one-off.

TAM data culled between 7 December 2003 and 3 January 2004 shows that NDTV India has gone ahead of chief rival Star News on all key parameters, says Nayak. The data covers Hindi speaking markets among men 25+ ABC.

Cumulative reach: Aaj Tak heads the table with 68.4 per cent reach followed by NDTV India at 59.5, Star News 53.4, Zee News 48.9 and Sahara Samay 44.5.

Absolute channel shares: Aaj Tak 2.99, NDTV India 1.41, Star News 1.37, Zee News 1.26, DD News 0.93 and Sahara Samay 0.61.

Evening prime time (6 pm to 12 pm): Aaj Tak 2.9, NDTV India 1.43, Star News 1.28, Zee News 1.17, DD News 0.92 and Sahara Samay 0.58.

As data goes however, it is channel share in the morning prime time (6 am to 9 am) that has thrown up the most surprising data. Aaj Tak at 4.83 leads all comers among men 25+ ahead even of usual suspect Star Plus. Following Aaj Tak in the second slot is Sony Entertainment with 4.34, then Zee Cinema 2.88 (guys watch movies in the mornings?), DD 1 2.87 and Star Plus at 2.42. What works for Sony is the devotional fare which is its staple in the mornings. Taking the devotional aspect into account, it would be worth following what ratings the religious channels get in the mornings.

Coming back to the news channels. In the mornings as well, it is NDTV India that comes second at 2.08. Zee News is third in this time slot at 1.89, Star News 1.84, DD News 1.22 and Sahara Samay brings up the rear at 0.64.

According to Nayak, the success of NDTV India is borne out by the number of advertisers that are now on the channel. There are 255 brands on NDTV India of which 59 are exclusive to the Hindi news channel, he states.

Dr Prannoy Roy's aim to reach out beyond India's English speaking "classes" looks to be working and with the elections around the corner, the team at NDTV India would be hoping to build on it.

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