Television

Most watched English news channels in 2018

Republic TV stole the show.

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BENGALURU: News is event driven. Events can be of two types – planned and unplanned. Among the planned events are elections, public events, etc.Unplanned events include deaths of celebrities, calamities, accidents and disasters, acts of terrorism, etc.

Besides providing news, news channels help spread a message, build and influence public opinion and even policy. The multitude of debates and special
programmes have often made celebrities out of the announcers, even when they shift channels. A classic and a living example is Arnab Goswami, who was instrumental in making Times Now the most watched English news in the country until he launched another channel – Republic TV. Right from the very first week of its launch in week 19 of 2017, Republic TV has topped Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) weekly ratings of top 5 English news channels, except for one week – week 31 of 2018.

A digression. As a matter of fact, it’s Goswami’s style of debating, literally forcing his views, opinions onto the debate participants and viewers, that is unique. It is a style that has not been replicated by any other news announcer or debate moderator so far. His style has made the older stars of English news look pale, stale and redundant. Now onto how the news genres performed in calendar year 2018.

Some major events such as elections, be they on a national, a regional or sometimes even on a local level, drive ratings of news channels north. Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) provides data for the top 5 English news channels. As mentioned above, ratings, BARC ratings to be more precise, of the English news genre peaked around the periods before, during and after the assembly elections three times in 2018. During election period, ratings normally have an upward spike in the week in which the election results are announced. Channels go hyper during the days leading to election results day with campaigns for attracting viewership across a number of mediums – television, newspapers, social media, hoardings and even local radio. Important scheduling of the programming to come is shared with viewers. BARC data indicates that channels release lower ad time and sell it a premium during election periods.

In 2018, the first set of elections that lead to a spike in ratings were the assembly elections in north eastern states, followed by elections in Karnataka,the period during which English News peaked. The Karnataka elections were followed by elections in three Hindi heartland states, one in East India and one state in North east. Ratings also peaked in mid-August 2015 – (week 33 of 2018) the major events at that time being the Indian Independence day celebrations on 15 August, followed by the demise of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee the very next day on 16 August 2018.

As mentioned above, right from its launch week, week 19 of 2017, Republic TV has been at rank no 1 in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 English News channels (All India (U+R) : NCCS AB : Males 22+ Individuals). Republic TV was followed by Times Now, often quite closely.

Of the six English news channels that appeared in BARC’s weekly lists, four – Republic TV, Times Now, India Today TV and CNN News18 were present in the list during all the 52 BARC weeks of 2018. Two other channels – NDTV 24X7 and the Times Group’s Mirror Now also made it to the lists for 39 weeks and 13 weeks respectively.Please refer to the chart below for English News ratings BARC ratings trends in the chart below.

Republic TV averaged 877.635 (000s) weekly impressions during the 52 BARC weeks of 2018 with a peak of 1,650 (000s) weekly impressions in week 20 of 2018 (Karnataka election period) and a nadir of 547 (000s) weekly impressions in week 11 of 2018.

Times Now averaged 739.885 (000s) weekly impressions with a peak of 1,417 (000s) weekly impressions in week 20 of 2018 and a low of 445 (000s) weekly impressions in week 11 of 2018.

India Today TV averaged 326.154 (000s) weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018 with a peak of 814 (000s) weekly impressions in week 13 of 2018 and a low of 210 (000s) weekly impressions in week 41 of 2018.

CNN News18 averaged 214.539 (000s) weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018 with a peak of 943 (000s) weekly impressions in week 33 of 2018 and a low of 161 (000s) weekly impressions in week 25 of 2018.

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