Television

Rat-ings race on News TV

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/01/news-channel.jpg?itok=1nxMa1FO

In a world of 56 news channels, the only objective currency of success is high placing in the rating meters. The battle to beat the ratings means that news channels are constantly ‘experimenting’ and ‘looking for the magic formula’. As one editor points out, "The approach is to hit entertainment TV… to enter the market of Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi… News is trying to enter into the area consciously… deliberately." Three genres of news television started specifically as tactics to capture high ratings: reality television, lifestyle shows and crime news.

Reality television is not an Indian innovation but it has taken an interesting form on news channels here. A case in point is Zee News’ two-hour special on the Gudiya case in late 2004, a programme that the Zee News director proudly refers to as his achievement…

The week Zee ran the show was the only week it became number one in the ratings that year. The Zee News editor explains the rationale behind the show, “…As far as news is concerned, earlier it was only about politicians. We are changing that. Various kinds of things are now news because the canvas has increased.”

The rush for ratings was the backdrop to this coverage. Gossip that once might have ended at the village well was now prime-time national viewing. The battle for ratings turned the private tragedy of Gudiya into a public spectacle. Zee wasn’t the only channel to pursue the Gudiya case in this manner. While Zee had her entire family into the studio, other TV channels too rushed reporters who woke up her remaining relatives in her villages at midnight on live television to get sound bytes.

The Gudiya example spurred similar experiments with reality television in a bid to increase ratings. In January 2006, Channel 7 telecast a live six-hour argument between a divorced mother and her estranged husband in the Middle East over custody rights for their child. The anchor introduced the show as one that took a deep look at social issues and the mother appeaed live with her seven-year-old daughter in tow. The channel then called her estranged husband on telephone and the two argued bitterly over the next six hours, fighting over domestic matters while her underage daughter looked on. She was even asked to comment on who she would like to live with, all in the cold glare in the camera. It was the kind of battle that should have taken place in a divorce court. Here it unfolded on national television, and it wasn’t a one-off. For channel 7, such programming, along with cricket and crime, was the key component of its strategy to register on the ratings.

It was the quest for ratings that spurred Star News in 2004 to start a new afternoon show called Saas, Bahu aur Saazish. It is a show that seeks to build on the popularity of popular soap opera on Star’s sister channel Star Plus – Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. The storylines of these soaps are based on intrigues within the huge extended families and they have been among the most popular television shows in India since the early 2005...

The third new genre that Indian television has experimented with is lifestyle programming. In 2003, NDTV started prime time shows called Night Out on NDTV 24X7 and Raat Baaki on NDTV India. These were the daily shows which were anchored live out of a different night club in a different city each day and the idea was to take viewers on a party trip with the hip and the happening. The producers took care to choose a nightclub where famous models or film starts were partying that night, and that was the selling point: party with the stars. The shows proved so popular that all other news channels started similar shows in the time and 2003 became the ‘Year of Night Outs’ in news parlance. Advertisers liked these shows because they brought in new non-news viewers and, more importantly, young viewers.

After the experiment with party programmes in 2003, news channels turned to crime programming in 2004. Aaj Tak experimented first with a programme called Jurm. Uday Shankar, who was then news director of Aaj Tak, says he got the idea from American television where crime is hugely popular. NDTV followed suit with FIR, Crime and the City, and Dial 100. Zee News started Crime Reporter and Crime File, Sahara aired Hello Control Room and Crime and Punishment. Aaj Tak responded with a second crime show Vardaat and Star News launched Sansani. CNBC India also started a programme on economic crimes.

The move towards crime shows can be explained by one factor: they fared well on the yardstick of TRPs (television rating points). Zee News’ Crime File in the 10:30- 11 pm slot on Saturday nights registered a 100 per cent jump in ratings over the show in the previous block. Similarly, Red Alert (Star News) showed a 63 per cent jump and Jurm (Aaj Tak) an 18 per cent jump from the previous show. The ratings were much higher than any other genre in Hindi news. And advertisers came in thick and fast. The most remarkable aspect of these shows remains the presentation. There is an overt, overdone bid to create tension with the visuals as well as soundtrack, as though the crime is happening next door. Even the anchors seem to have a certain edge: they speak loudly, menacing voices taut with tension. According to one observer, it is as if “KN Singh, Pran, Ajit, Gulshan Grover, Amrish Puri and other such screen villains have all been rolled into one composite face.” According to one editor, the anchors are deliberately styled in this theatrical manner because their ‘personality helps stylise and package the show.’

…But television is a complex business and ratings do not always translate into revenues. They do most of the time, but not always.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/cc.jpg?itok=vyxpkA3V
Comedy Central sets pace for ultimate celebration with over 100 hours of non-stop FRIENDS ultra marathon for its 6th birthday

Birthdays and New Years are great occasions to make resolutions for participating in marathons. However, this is one marathon which calls for hanging up your running shoes and grabbing the best spot in front of the telly with a bowl of munchies to keep you going because, for the first time ever in...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/usports.jpg?itok=kTmil1B-
U Sports launches India's first ever Multi-Platform Multi-Game E-Sports Championship - U Cypher with MTV

The Indian E-Sports scenario is all set for a major revamp as U Sports, one of India’s biggest sports business companies in association with India’s No. 1 Youth Brand, MTV, announces the premiere of their all new month-long championship, U Cypher with MTV. Premiering today, on 19th January, the...

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/dth.jpg?itok=SKeBAh70
TV ownership increased by 14% in 2017: IRS

After a gap of four years, the Indian Readership Survey (IRS), which documents the growth of the media industry, has been released for 2017. The survey methodology was criticised in 2014 and, therefore, was halted for an upgrade. This time, the sample size has been increased by 34 per cent to 3.2...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/challenge.jpg?itok=evdSw-BZ
CNN-News18 launches 'If I Were FM Challenge'

As part of its Budget programming, CNN-News18 is launching the ‘If I were FM Challenge’. The campaign will encourage viewers to contribute their suggestions for the Union Budget. The channel will run an extensive on-air campaign to promote the same.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/BBC.jpg?itok=JOGTF9zH
BBC World News to Broadcast 'China's Chat Girls'

Lele Tao is an internet superstar in China’s $3 billion dollar ‘live streaming’ industry. With more than a million fans she can earn thousands of dollars a day singing, dancing, flirting, or often just chatting into her webcam. Fans buy her virtual gifts which she redeems for cash. In return she...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/anupam.jpg?itok=fMDsUqO6
PKL season 6 and 7 dates announced

The second most watched domestic league in India, Vivo Pro Kabaddi League owned by Mashal Sports and Star India announced the dates of sixth and seventh season.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/18/star-bharat.jpg?itok=kT6YtkU0
Star Bharat leads Hindi GEC (U+R) in week 2 of BARC ratings

MUMBAI: Star Bharat emerged as the leader in the Hindi GEC (U+R) genre dethroning Zee Anmol according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) all India data for week 2 of 2018.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/18/aaj-tak-barc.jpg?itok=4sc6BHYP
BARC week 2: Aaj Tak leads Hindi News in all three markets

MUMBAI: Republic TV continues its leading streak in the second week of the year as well in BARC All India ratings. News Nation stays in the top five chart in week 2 of 2018 in Hindi News Rural market. Aaj Tak tops the chart again in Hindi News Urban market.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/18/karan-bajaj.jpg?itok=jxlg_oWY
Dsport acquires India rights of tri-nation tournament in SL

Discovery’s sports channel Dsport has acquired the exclusive India broadcast rights of Nidahas Trophy 2018, a tri-nation international T20 tournament involving India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The transaction was facilitated by Lagardère Sports, the global marketing consultant of Sri Lanka Cricket...

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories