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Republic Bharat viewership driven by rural audiences?

Republic Bharat is ranked second and fourth in HSM (R) and HSM (U) respectively

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BENGALURU: Its early days yet with data only for 4 weeks from Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC)available since the launch of Republic Bharat and the implementation of TRAI’s new tariff order. However, back of the envelope calculations seem to indicate that viewership of the latest major entrant to the Hindi News genre, Republic Bharat, is driven more by Rural Audiencesif one were to go by ranking alone. It must be noted that a number of channels across genres- whether GEC or other genres, have gained viewership after the new tariff order regime and are free-to-air (FTA) and also available on DD FreeDish as compared to their respective peers which are or have become pay channels (pay TV).

BARC data of Top 5 Hindi News channels in the combined Hindi Speaking rural (R) and urban (U) market – HSM (U+R),  for weeks 13 to 16 show that Republic Bharat has been ranked third consistently during all the four weeks under consideration. However, in the case of HSM (R),  based on average BARC viewership, Republic Bharat would be ranked second and would be ranked fourth in the HSM (U) during the period under consideration.

Hindi News consumption in the Combined Urban and Rural Hindi speaking Market

Only four channels appeared during all the four weeks under consideration in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Hindi News channels in HSM (U+R). They were AajTak, India TV, Republic News and Zee News. As is obvious from the sum of ranks, Aajtak, India TV, Republic Bharat and Zee News were ranked first second, third and fourth respectively in HSM (U+R).

In week 16 of 2019, AajTak at first rank, scored 141.728 million weekly impressions as compared to 155.831 weekly impressions in week 15. India TV was second with 116.682 million weekly impressions in week 16 as compared to second rank and 140.725 million weekly impressions in week 15 of 2019, At third rank was Republic Bharat with 109.567 million weekly impressions as compared to third rank and 121.096 million weekly impressions in week 15 of 2019. News18 India  reentered BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Hindi. News channels in HSM (U+R) with 102.005 million weekly impressions at fourth rank. At fifth rank in week 16 of 2019 was Zee News with 96.704 million weekly impressions as compared to fourth rank and 114.248 million weekly impressions in week 15.

Hindi News consumption in the Combined Urban and Rural Hindi speaking Market

There were five channels that consistently appeared during all the four weeks under consideration in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Hindi News channels in HSM (R): NCCS All: 15 + individuals. They wereAajTak, Republic Bharat India TV, ABP News and Zee News, ranked one, two, three, four and five respectively based on the average viewership of the four weeks – weeks 13 to 16 of 2019.

In week 16 of 2019, at rank one, AajTak had viewership of 65.334 million weekly impressions as compared to rank 1 and 72.736 million weekly impressions in week 15 in HSM (R). Republic Bharat was ranked second with 51.284 million weekly impressions as compared to third rank and 59.983 million weekly impressions in week 15. India TV was ranked third in week 16 of 2019 with 48.186 million weekly impressions as compared with second rank and 60.757 million weekly impressions in week 15. At fourth rank was ABP News in week 16 of 2019 with 44.031 million weekly impressions as compared to fourth rank and 53.519 million weekly impressions in week 15. At fifth rank was Zee News in week 16 of 2019 with 38.493 million weekly impressions as compared with fifth rank and 51.381 million weekly impressions in week 15.

Hindi news consumption in the urban Hindi speaking market

In the case of HSM (U) NCCS All: 15 + individuals also, there were five channels that consistently appeared in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Hindi News channels during all the four weeks under consideration. They were AajTak, India TV, News18 India, Republic Bharat and Zee News ranked one, two, three, four and five respectively based on the average viewership of the four weeks – weeks 13 to 16 of 2019.

In HSM (U) during week 16 of 2019, AajTak was ranked one with 76.394 million weekly impressions as compared with rank one and 83.095 million weekly impressions in week 15. India TV was ranked second in week 16 of 2019 with 68.496 million weekly impressions as compared with second rank and 79.968 million weekly impressions in week 15. News18 India was ranked third in week 16 of 2019 with 64.131 million weekly impressions as compared to rank three and 67.719 million weekly impressions in week 15. Republic Bharat was ranked fourth in week 16 of 2019 with 58.283 million weekly impressions as compared with fifth rank and 61.113 million weekly impressions in week 15. At fifth rank was Zee News with 58.211 million weekly impressions as compared with fourth rank and 62.868 million weekly impressions in week 15.

Authors remarks

It is early days yet, ratings have yet to settle post the new tariff order regime according to sources in the industry. However, based on the current data available, it is not just Republic TV alone that has a comparatively large rural viewership on analysis of ratings. Please refer to the chart below for viewership breakup of the four Hindi News channels that have appeared in all the three weekly BARC lists between week 13 to 16 of 2019.

Since the latter part of the period under consideration, the country has been undergoing national elections. Viewership ratings should climb, instead of which they have dipped in week 16 of 2019. This is also the case in some of the regional news genres. Of the eight regional languages news genres that BARC publishes data for in the public domain, the combined viewership numbers of the top 5 news channels in the respective language/genre have increased in week 16 of 2019 as compared to week 15, while the combined viewership ratings of the other four top 5 regional news channel have declined as compared to the previous week. Are people consuming more news on other channels? India certainly has a plethora of news channels (or views channels as some of them are called). Have the ratings declined because of IPL 12? Or because summer vacations  for schools have commenced and less people are watching news, or even television because of travel? More than normal power outages? A more detailed study over a longer duration covering all the news channels across languages is required to answer these queries.

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