Television

BBC asserts it is most favoured among 'evolved' Indian news consumers

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MUMBAI: "While Tam India is one of the best tracking agencies in the country today; one news channel in India gets half it's SEC AB viewing from a single respondent and there is a lot of fragmentation," BBC World head of research and planning Jeremy Nye said in a presentation made in Mumbai today. He went on to say that the popular perception that television is considered as a passive medium is nonsense and that areas like drama, MTV enthusiasts, sports lovers, news channel viewers wherein television can change the world and create trust, provide insight and impact. "These areas are more often than not ignored by the standard measurement system and sometimes additional analysis and research is required. Media consumption is a rich evolving science, which is chronically under-researched," said Nye.

The new research from BBC World was aimed at understanding the media habits and perceptions of the evolving Indian news viewers. The study provides unique insights on the role news plays in viewers' lives and the ways in which they interact with news channels.

The presentation comprised an international news study that shed light on viewers' involvement with news, a Synovate study to understand how viewer's view, out of home viewership, revealing how travel changes the viewing experience, insights of news consumers in India and how they differ from Europeans and other Asians, news segmentation study to understand differences of news consumers in India and the Adwatch, which was jointly done with Initiative Media. Adwatch aims at going beyond GRPs (gross rating points), which solely look at attendance as against attention.

The Media Brand Value survey undertaken by the channel looked at the relationship between senior business people and influential leaders in Europe and international media; how it compared with national media and the strengths of specific channels and titles. The survey covered four main areas in terms of media usage, core news values, speed, importance/impact and practical use. The survey revealed that BBC World was the most successful channel in terms of viewer loyalty: rated number one for impartiality, for being stimulating, a must watch! Interestingly, as opposed to all the Synovate PAX surveys done earlier, which revealed that CNN continued to be the leader in the news genre; the Media Brand Value survey revealed that BBC World shared a much stronger relationship with their viewers in terms of trust, impartiality, stimulation and usefulness at work as opposed to CNN. Out of the 11 positive attributes explored, BBC World was ranked top in four as opposed to CNN's two.

Interestingly, the Synovate study done across 16 countries in 16 homes, which was shown at the recently held CASBAA convention, reveals that unlike popular perception that people watch more television during prime time and that's the sole reason why media planners put their clients' money in that slot; what actually is the case is that most people are multi tasking at that time. They may be sitting in front of the television but at the same time they are cooking, are on the phone, talking to their family members, are on their laptops, give attention to their pets etc. It is in the late night slot that people are less active and give more attention to television as they are not multi tasking. "Advertisers bank on prime time television viewing audience but they may be missing out on reaching to a lot of people who are doing other things at the same time," Nye says.

On the other hand, BBC World's Segmentation study, which used a two pronged approach, took into account both qualitative and quantitative data and classified Indian news viewers into six categories: astute, self acclaimed intellectual, evolved, generalist, minimalist and detached.

Speaking on the same, BBC World senior research manager Dezma de Melo says, "There is more to measuring media than counting eyeballs and it is important to understand the attention and involvement of viewers. This study attempts to understand Indian news viewers, and classifies them based on a study of their minds and attitudes, to reveal why and how they watch news."

The Segmentation study defines 'astute' viewers as go getters and achievers who place great importance in the relevance of news and are hence very selective about the source of their news. 'Evolved' viewers, on the other hand, consider themselves to be practical, value well balanced and credible news, and use multiple sources of news to reach a self evaluated story. 'Self acclaimed intellectual' viewers have a high sense of self worth and a preference for news that they can use to create impact in a conversation. The study identified 'generalist' viewers as those who see themselves as hard working and serious people and are likely to just catch headlines and not bother about the whole story or the number of sources involved. 'Minimalist' viewers are motivated by money and power while 'detached' viewers are defined by low self awareness, but both watch news simply to "appear" informed.

Not surprisingly, the study reveals that 'minimalists' represent the largest percentage of Indian news viewers at 32 per cent, followed by 'evolved' viewers (19 per cent), 'self acclaimed intellectuals' (16 per cent), 'astute' and 'generalists' (11 per cent) and 'detached' viewers (10 per cent).

Some of the interesting media habits of these viewer categories are:

  • Generalist viewers watch a lot of television and tend to surf a lot, preferring news, music and general entertainment channels,
  • Astute viewers are most likely to watch international and domestic news, sports and English movie channels, however the bulk of their time is spent watching news,
  • Self acclaimed intellectuals watch television late at night and also like to read news of society events,
  • Minimalist and detached viewers prefer watching television to reading,
  • Evolved, self acclaimed, generalist and astute viewers choose BBC World as their favourite news channel, while Aaj Tak is the preferred news channel amongst minimalists and detached viewers.

The survey also revealed that BBC World's diverse programme mix appealed to different viewer categories. Programmes like India Business Report and Asia Business Report find affinity with 'astute' viewers while Holiday and Wheels find avid viewers in holiday makers and car buyers. 'Self acclaimed intellectuals' are most likely to watch Mastermind India or University Challenge, that appeal to their intellectual mindset and reinforce their belief in them being superior, or Sport Today or Extra Time, which give them the extra information they can talk about!

In the Adwatch study, which tries to investigate the factors that increase or decrease receptivity to advertising and how the media environment can actually affect response to advertising, the end objective being to guide advertisers in improving the effectiveness of their campaigns. Some of the findings revealed in Adwatch were:

  • Zee News has the highest number of ads as was believed by 44 per cent of the respondents,
  • BBC World and Headlines Today on the other hand had the least number of ads as was believed by 11 per cent of the respondents,
  • 54 per cent of the respondents strongly agree that there seems to be more advertising nowadays,
  • 22 per cent of the respondents strongly agree that they tend to watch less TV if there are more ads,
  • Those who watch TV alone are less likely to switch channels during ad breaks,
  • 31 per cent of the respondents strongly agree that they pay more attention to the ads of they like the programme they are watching,
  • BBC World has more viewers (10 per cent) who are receptive to advertising as compared to NDTV 24x7 (-14 per cent).

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