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2018's most watch South Indian channels

Sun TV stayed popular in the Tamil category with high viewership.

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BENGALURU: The South Indian television market is huge with a television penetration of about 95 percent. This paper is based on performance in terms of viewership –  and refers mainly to weekly impressions of top 5 channels in each of the four South Indian languages as per Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) data.

The four major South India languages are (in order of populations of the major territories they are spoken in) Telugu in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Tamil in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, Kannada in Karnataka and Malayalam in Kerala. In terms of television households, Tamil Nadu leads because of its higher television penetration, followed by Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala in that order.

Among the major networks, Star India, Sun TV Network, Viacom18/ETV and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) have channels that cater to the viewership pleasure of speakers of at least three of the four languages.

Here below is the performance of the top channels for each of the four languages.

Kannada Channels

There were four Kannada channels – three Kannada GECs and one Kannada movie channel that featured in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Kannada channels for all the 52 weeks of 2018. Two channels were from the Sun TV Network and there was one channel each from Viacom18/ETV Network and Zeel. In alphabetical order, they were: Colors Kannada (Viacom18/ETV), Udaya Movies and Udaya TV (Sun TV Network) and Zee Kannada (Zeel).

The most watched Kannada channels in terms of the sum of weekly impressions for all the 52 weeks of 2018 were – Colors Kannada, Zee Kannada, Udaya TV and Udaya Movies in that order.

Colors Kannada was ranked no 1 in BARC’s list of top 5 Kannada channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018. The channel garnered a total of 21.997 billion impressions (Average weekly impressions 423.011 million) during the 52 weeks of 2018. At second place for each of the 52 weeks of 2018 was Zee Kannada. Zee Kannada scored a total of 17.825 billion impressions (average weekly impressions 342.787 million) during the 52 weeks of 2018. 

The third-most watched channel in terms for total impressions was Udaya TV which had 11.362773 billion impressions Average weekly impressions 218.515 million) during the 52 weeks of 2018. Udaya TV was ranked third for 46 weeks and fourth for 6 weeks in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Kannada channels during the 52 BARC weeks of 2018. The fourth most watched channel was Udaya Movies – the channel was ranked fourth for 44 weeks, third for six weeks and fifth for two weeks of 2018. Udaya Movies scored 10.164323 billion impressions Average weekly impressions195.468 million) during the 52 BARC weeks of 2018.

Two other channels that featured in BARC’s weekly lists of five most watched Kannada channels were Star India’s Kannada GEC Star Suvarna and Viacom18/ETV’s HD channel – Colors Kannada HD. Star Suvarna was present in BARC’s Kannada channels list for 46 of the 52 week of 2018 and Colors Kannada was present for 6 of 52 weeks of 2018. Please refer to the figure below:

Malayalam Channels

Four Malayalam GECs made it consistently to BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Malayalam channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018. These channels were from Star India, Insight Media City and Malayala Manorama (MM) TV and Sun TV. In alphabetical order they were: Asianet (Star India), Flowers TV, Mazhavil Manorama (Malayala Manorama (MM) TV) and Surya TV (Sun TV).

In order of total impressions for all the 52 weeks of 2018, the channels are ranked as Asianet, Surya TV, Flowers TV and Mazhavil Manorama. 

Asianet was ahead of the pack by far – it garnered 15.766 billion impressions during the year with a weekly average of 303.186 million impressions. It was always ranked 1 during all the 52 weeks of 2108. Surya TV was second with 5.134 billion impressions during the year and a weekly average of 98.73740385 million impressions. Flowers Media was ranked third with 4.919 billion impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018 and a weekly average of 94.587 million impressions. At fourth rank was Mazhavil Manorama which had 4.891 billion impressions for the year at a weekly average of 94.062 million impressions. 

Please refer to the figure below for weekly trends for these channels.

Tamil channels

As in the case of Kannada and Malayalam, there were four Tamil channels that appeared in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Tamil channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018. Three channels were GEC, while one was a Tamil movie channel. Two channels were from the Sun TV Network and there was one channel each from Star India and Zeel. The four channels, alphabetical order, were KTV, Star Vijay, Sun TV and Zee Tamil.

Sun TV was by far the most watched Tamil GEC in 2018. The channel clocked a massive 48.490 billion impressions during 2018 with weekly average impressions of 932.508 million during the period. At second rank was Star India’s flagship Tamil GEC Star Vijay with 22.697 billion impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018 and a weekly average of 436.477 million. 

At third rank was Zeel’s flagship Tamil GEC Zee Tamil with 21.948 billion impressions during the year and a weekly average of 422.080 million impressions. At fourth rank was the Sun TV Network’s Tamil movies channel KTV with 15.896 billion impressions during the year and a weekly average of 305.696 million impressions during the 52 BARC weeks of 2018. Please refer to the figure below.

Telugu Channels

Like the other three South Indian languages markets, there were 4 channels that were present consistently in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Telugu channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018. All four were GECs spread over four different networks – Viacom18/ETV, Star India, Sun TV Network and Zeel.

In alphabetical order, these channels were ETV Telugu (Viacom18/ETV), Gemini (Sun TV Network), Star Maa (Star India) and Zee Telugu (Zeel).

Star Maa was the most watched Telugu channel in 2018 with 29.184 billion impressions during the year at a weekly average of 561.236 million. Zee Telugu was ranked second with 25.274 billion weekly impressions at a weekly average of 486.029 million. At third place was ETV Telugu with 23.435 billion impressions during the year at a weekly average of 450.682 million impressions during BARC’s 52 weeks of 2018. At fourth place was Gemini TV with 22.818 billion impressions at a weekly average of 438.804 million impressions.

South India is an exciting place for television viewers today as broadcasters vie for attracting more and more sticky eyeballs to their fares. There are about 225 channels spread across the four South Indian languages that beam into India, besides many more that beam South Indian language content into other geographies. New channel launches, HD channel launches were the name of the game in 2018. Viacom18/ETV lunched its Tamil GEC – Colors Tamil in 2018, Zeel lunched a Malayalam channel in 2018 – both the pan-India networks wanted to mark their presence in these markets.

Besides, Star India has been wooing sports viewers in South India -it now has 3 sports channels in South Indian languages – the last one to be launched near the end of 2018 – Star Sports 1 Kannada. Earlier, on 7 December, the network had launched Star Sports 1 Telugu to join Star Sports 1 Tamil. The launch of Star Sports 1 Kannada took the Star Sports channel count to 15 with 10 standard definition and five high definition channels.

As many as nine HD channels were launched by two pan India networks in South India. Seven of the new HD channels were Telugu– five GEC and two movies and one each GEC HD channel was launched in Kannada and Malayalam. Network18 through Viacom18 and ETV launched five, while Zeel launched four HD channels. Zee Kannada HD was launched on 3 November 2018, while Zee Telugu HD and Zee Cinemalu HD were launched on 1 January 2018. Zee Keralam HD was launched on 5 December 2018.

As is obvious from above, among the 4 languages, it was Sun TV that topped BARC’s weekly ratings in Tamil, Star Maa that generally topped the weekly ratings in Telugu, Colors Kannada that topped the ratings in Karnataka and Asianet that topped the ratings in Malayalam during 2018.

BARC data for top10 channels across genres NCCS All India 2+ reveals that the Sun TV Networks flagship Tamil GEC Sun TV is the most watched channel in the country. In 2018, Sun TV headed BARC’s list of top 10 channels across genres for 48 of the 52 weeks of 2018.It was only during some weeks of the eleventh edition of the Indian cricketing bonanza IPL that channel lost its prime position in BARC’s list of top 10 channels across genres for four of the seven IPL weeks. Sun TV, one of the earliest players in the Indian television industry, has continued to dominate the Tamil television market despite the entry of national level big networks in the Tamil market. However, the Sun TV Network channels in the Kannada and Telugu markets had to concede numero uno status to national level players.

With the entry of strong players such as Viacom18/ETV and Zeel, ratings could have a shakeup, especially in the Tamil and Malayalam language space. Over the next few years time will tell which player will top the ratings. In the meantime viewers will be spoiled for choice with quality content being beamed into their televisions.
 

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