Star News, NDTV India bearing down as Aaj Tak hold loosens

MUMBAI: Elections have taken a toll on the leader among Hindi news channels. Aaj Tak, which led the pack with a market share of 36 per cent at the beginning of the year, has slipped to 26 per cent by the end of April.     

According to TAM figures (C&S 15+, Hindi speaking markets), newcomers Star News and NDTV India are already snapping at Aaj Tak's heels, both having grown to a market share of 21 per cent each. While Star News started with a market share of 15 per cent, NDTV India started the year with a share of 17 per cent. Both have made slow, but steady progress over the last 18 weeks to remain resolutely tied at equal market shares currently.

Other players have not gained from Aaj Tak's discomfiture, however. DD News, the latest entrant, has in fact, lost market share - from 12 per cent in the beginning of the year to 10 per cent by the end of April, while Sahara Samay recorded a marginal rise from eight to nine per cent. Viewer loyalty to Zee News has remained steady, going neither up nor down. Zee News has retained its market share of 13 per cent that it began the year with.

The scenario is similar in the C&S 4+ demographic in Hindi speaking markets too - Aaj Tak has fallen to a market share of 25.4 per cent, while NDTV India today stands at 22.3 per cent and Star News at 20.8 per cent. The outlook is a little better for Aaj Tak in the 25 + TG in Hindi speaking markets, with the channel boasting 27.1 per cent market share, much lower than the share it started the year with, yet better than its share in the other demographics. Here too, both Star News and NDTV India are neck to neck - NDTV with a share of 21.8 per cent and Star with a share of 20.9 per cent.

The overall channel share of Hindi news channels has however grown from 5.8 to 6.5 in the first four months of 2004, thanks to the general elections. Here too, Aaj Tak has slipped from 2.1 to 1.7. On the other hand, NDTV India has gone up from 1 to 1.4 while Star News has gone up from 0.9 to 1.4, the TAM data reveals.

The battle for the top spot, precipitated by the elections, will continue for some weeks to come till the results are out and credibility, speed and clarity of each channel is established. The fight continues...

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