Anna obsession boosts TV news channels

MUMBAI: Anna Hazare’s indefinite hunger strike has not only created a stir among the political class and the common man but has also gripped the news industry. The obsession is so complete that the news television channels have forgotten about the existence of other news.

Anna‘s movement against corruption hogged the limelight, occupying 88.5 per cent of primetime content on news channels for the period between 16-24 August, according to data from Centre For Media Studies’ TV news monitoring division CMS Media Lab.

The data consists of total per day news average of four channels – NDTV 24X7, CNN-IBN, Star News and Aaj Tak.
Among these channels, Star News gave maximum footage to Anna’s fast –97.1 per cent or 1,310 minutes in the week; its focus on other news was just 2.9 per cent.

On Aaj Tak, news coverage on Anna was as high as 92.2 per cent, while 7.8 per cent was other news. NDTV 24X7 and CNN-IBN gave 85 and 81 per cent of their primetime to Anna’s cause.

Interestingly, on 24 August all the four channels aired news related to Anna only and no other news was covered, CMS Media Lab’s data revealed.

The whole news genre, which is under tremendous revenue stress, has seen a dramatic rise in viewership, thanks to Anna. As per TAM data for the week ended 20 August, the genre share of Hindi news channels has seen an 87 per cent jump in the viewership, while the English news genre saw a boost of 74 per cent.

In the Hindi speaking market (HSM), the share of Hindi news genre grew to 11.02 per cent compared to 5.9 per cent in the preceding week.

The genre share of English news channels stood at 0.54 per cent, as against 0.31 per cent in the trailing week.

TAM data also suggests that not just more people viewed the news channels but they watched it longer. The average daily time spent on Hindi news channels increased to 16.9 minutes from 8.5 minutes in the HSM. The time spent on English news channels rose to 0.72 minute (from 0.30 minute earlier) at a pan India level.

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