Television

Assembly elections catapult English news genre viewership

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BENGALURU: The recent elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have given a fillip to the sagging viewership of the Indian English news genre.It clocked the third-highest combined viewership for the top-five channels (All India (U+R): NCCS AB: Males 22+ Individuals) in 2017 during the week election results were declared. According to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data, the combined ratings of the top-five English news channels were 3.808 million weekly impressions in the penultimateweek of 2017 (Saturday,17 December 2016 to Friday, 23 December 2016). 

The top-five channels of the genre had earlier recorded higher combined ratings of 4.897 million weekly impressions and 4.282 million weekly impressions in weeks 11 and 19 of 2017,respectively.During week 11, assembly election results of five Indian states were announced and week 19 was the week in which the current genre leader–the ArnabGoswami-led Republic TV was launched. The fourth highest combined ratings of the top-five channels of the genre (3.781 million weekly impressions) in the year was in week 29 of 2017 when the Supreme Court gave its verdict for Indian godman Ram Rahim case.

It may be noted that the ratings of week 21 of 2017 have not been considered in this report because in that week all the major English news channels, excluding Republic TV and a few others, had withdrawn from the BARC ratings system. Hence,BARC viewership data for week 21 of 2017 has not been considered in this paper.

Please refer to the figure below:

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Another yardstick that many in the industry consider more reliable are the four-week average ratings. Since data for week 52 of 2017 has still to be released, a three-week average has been calculated for weeks 49 to 51 in the figure below. Also, since data for week 21 of 2017 has not been considered in this paper, data for weeks 22 to 24 is also a three-week average.

In case the viewership ratings of the genre fall in the last week of 2017, the four-week average ratings for the last four weeks will be lower than the three-week average viewership figure of 3.0220 million weekly impressions (the likelihood of which is quite high). The highest four-week average recorded by the genre in 2017 was in weeks 29 to 32 at 3.2695 million weekly impressions. As is obvious, the genre’s ratings were in freefall after that until the weeks leading up to and after the assembly elections in the two states. 

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The number in maroon text in the figure above for weeks 49-51 is the average of 3 weeks.

Top-fiveEnglish news genre channels ratings in week 51 of 2017

The combined ratings of the top-five channels of the English news genre grew by 31.81 percent in week 51 as compared with week 50. The same channels that featured in the list of week 50 remained in week 51 with a slight shuffle in the ranks.

Republic TV has been leading the genre in terms of viewership right from the week it was launched. As the leader for week 51,it garnered 1.480 million weekly impressions, followed by Times Now with 1.203 million weekly impressions. The former’s viewership expanded by 50.71 percent in week 51 as against week 50, while Times Now’s ratings grew by 39.24 percent during the week under review. Both channels retained their previous week’s first and second ranks respectively.

Climbing up a place to third rank in week 51 was CNN News 18–the channel had viewership of 0.443 million weekly impressions in week 51 compared with 0.329 million weekly impressions of week 50, indicating growth of 34.65 percent. At fourth place in week 51 and down a rank from week 50 was India Today Television (ITTV). ITTV recorded 0.424 million weekly impressions for week 51 of 2017, which was 8.23 percent lower than the 0.462 million weekly impressions in week 50. At fifth place was NDTV 24x7 with 0.258 million weekly impressions in week 51 of 2017 which was 2.38 percent more than the 0.252 million weekly impressions in week 50.

Republic TV bandied some numbers on its screen just after BARC data was released claiming to have had 50 percent of the viewership of the English news channels on the day the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly election results were announced.

Also read:

Four Star India channels among top 10 channels across genres

Hindi News genre versus Indian English News during festival week

Indian English News genre facing festival blues?

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