Television

Plus is all India 'star' in GECs, while Sun shines brightest among regional channels: IRS 2006

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MUMBAI: While in the regional space, Star Plus has managed to rise up on the charts more than any other Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) in the last five years; the story is no different as far as the Top 10 television channels in the country are concerned.

Since 2000, Star's flagship channel has managed to topple DD2/Metro, Sony, Zee TV and Zee Cinema to claim the second position with a viewership share of nine per cent in 2006. DD1 (National Network) has maintained its top position over the years.

DD1's viewership in the Top 10 TV channels in the All India market in 2006 is 27.4 per cent as compared to its share of 43.2 per cent in 2000 according to the findings of IRS Round I done by Hansa Research and Media Research Users Council (MRUC). Going by these numbers, DD1 viewership on an all India basis has dropped by almost half in the last five years.

DD2/Metro, which was second in line in 2000 with a share of 11 per cent has completely gone off the Top 10 television channels list in 2006.

Sony Entertainment Television, on the other hand, which was the number three channel in 2000 with a viewership share of 9.4 per cent, has fallen to the seventh position in 2006 and currently has a share of 4.6 per cent. Rival channel Zee TV saw an even steeper fall over the years, but all the same has maintained its place in the Top 10 television channels list. From its third position in 2000 with a share of 9.2 per cent, Zee TV lost 5.6 per cent share to other channels and fell straight to the tenth position this year with a share of 3.6 per cent.

The reason for the drop in Sony and Zee's channel shares, which were the third and fourth best viewed channels after the national channels in 2000, could be because of the change in the program genre of these channels. Both channels focused more on music shows and game shows to garner viewership, reasons Hansa Research marketing and client servicing India head V Sudarshan.

Going by the data thrown up, the fact remains that viewers are still hooked to the soaps and serials, which is clearly indicated by Star Plus viewership numbers, predominantly garnered by the 'K' serials. However, now both Sony and Zee have a robust line up of dramas like Thodi Khushi Thode Gham, Aisa Desh Hai Mera, Saath Phere and Jabb Love Hua in the primetime. Hence it remains to be seen whether the channels' popularity soars on the charts riding on these shows. Zee TV's Saath Phere, for one, has been consistently delivering for the channel in terms of ratings.

While three channels from the Top 10 All India list have disappeared from the charts in 2006, three other channels have made their entry. DD2/Metro (second position), Star Sports (seventh position) and DD10 Marathi (eighth position), which were on the charts in 2000 seem to have made way for DD News (third position), Aaj Tak (fourth position) and Sun TV (fifth position) in 2006.

One of the interesting trend that is seen in the current Top 10 and the Top 10 five years back is that in 2000, no news channel made its way to the Top 10 list. Whereas in 2006, DD News and Aaj Tak have been featured.

"This explains a very big phenomenon, that there are possibilities that these news channels are now eating into the share of the print medium, and it could be that people are now preferring to tune rather than turn, for their news requirement. Viewers are interested in current news, and not yesterday's news and this also reiterates the fact, why magazine readership has come down so dramatically over the period," said Sudarshan.

One channel that has maintained a consistent performance on the charts since 2000 is Zee Cinema. In term of viewership share, the channel has dropped only marginally from 6 per cent in 2000 to 5.3 per cent in 2006 and is now placed in the sixth position as opposed to its fifth position in 2000.

Among the regional channels, apart from Sun TV, that have made a mark in the Top 10 channels in the All India market in 2006, are ETV (4.4 per cent) and Gemini TV (4.1 per cent) in the eighth and ninth position respectively.

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