Television

Republic TV helps increase English News genre viewership

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BENGALURU: Arnab Ranjan Goswami is one of the most recognised faces on Indian Television. Earlier, as the editor-in-chief of the Times Network flagship English News channel Times Now, Goswami raised the hackles of many during his shows on the channel. He quit Times Now in November last year to start another English News channel. Goswami is now the managing director and editor-in-chief of Republic TV, which launched on 6 May 2017. Republic TV is now the bête noire of Times Now.

Goswami still continues to shout down, to run down panelists who don’t agree with him, who don’t listen to him, who don't see him eye-to-eye. One may like him, hate him, but one just can’t ignore him.

And this seems to work for viewers, going by the ratings that Republic TV has been getting. Right from the first week of its launch (week 19 of 2017 – Saturday 6 May 2017 to Friday 12 May 2017) the channel has topped Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) ratings in its genre.

Now, to some background. Republic TV has not had a welcome from its peer English News channels - various attempts have been made to make the channel’s presence in the English News genre as unhealthy as possible. Just a couple of weeks after the launch of Republic TV – in week 21, its peer Indian English news channels had withdrawn their watermarks which made it difficult for BARC to fairly measure ratings for the English News genre – the channels didn’t want BARC to measure the new entrant’s ratings claiming that Republic TV was using unfair means to garner more ratings. BARC refused to kowtow, saying that it was only a measuring agency, and not a compliance agency. For a week, ratings of Indian English news channels were not published by BARC, until the erring channels returned to the BARC audience measurement fold.

Republic TV has been topping the BARC weekly ratings charts (All India (U+R) : NCCS AB : Males 22+ Individuals) for 15 weeks (14 weeks excluding week 21) since its launch. Republic TV and Times Now are the top two channels in the genre. The other channels – be it India Today Television, NDTV 24x7 or CNN News 18 have so far managed to garner half or lesser viewership than Times Now during the first 33 weeks of 2017.

In week 19 - the week that it was launched, Republic TV garnered 2.117 million weekly impressions – the second highest ratings ever by a channel in 2017. Week 19 was an ordinary week, and yet the ratings for its biggest competitor and Goswami’s previous employer - Times Now rose by 78 percent to 1.148 million impressions as compared to its week 18 ratings of 0.645 million weekly impressions. The combined ratings of the other 4 channels besides Republic TV that belong to top 5 English News channels list in week 19 (Times Now, NDTV 24x7, India Today Television CNN)   were just a little more than those of Republic TV at 2.165 million weekly impressions. The combined ratings of the English News genre in week 19 of 2017 were 4.282 million, the second highest ratings ever by the genre’s top 5 channels in 2017.

The only other time that a channel obtained higher ratings was in week 11 of 2017 – (Saturday, 11 March 2017 to Friday 17 March 2017) – this was the week in which election results for five states were announced. Times Now garnered 2.282 million weekly impressions in that week – note Republic TV was not present on television at that time. The combined weekly impressions of the top 5 English News channels in week 11 were 4.897 million– the highest combined ratings obtained by the top 5 channels of the genre to date in 2017.

Until week 18, the average ratings of the English News genre were 1.884 million weekly impressions. Between weeks 19 and 33 (excluding week 22 ratings) the genre’s average ratings have gone up by 65 percent to 3.107 million weekly impressions. Please refer to the figure below:

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The other English News channels have also gained because of Republic TV. The average ratings of the other 4 channels from BARC’s top 5 English News channels list between week 19 and week 33 (excluding Republic TV, from week 19 onward) was 1.9 million weekly impressions. The number may seem just a little more than average weekly impressions of 1.884 million of the top 5 English News channels until week18 – note this is the combined number for 5 channels, while average of 1.9 million weekly impressions after week 18 is the number for 4 channels.

Republic TV’s closest competitor Times Now has seen a 26 percent increase in its average weekly ratings for 14 weeks between weeks 19 and 33 of 2017 (excluding week 21) to 0.947 million weekly impressions as compared to the average of 0.751 million weekly impressions the channel had for 18 weeks - between weeks 1 to 18 of 2017. Over the past few weeks, Times Now ratings have been closing in on Republic TV’s ratings. Will the channel be able to claw back to its numero uno position? Only time can tell.

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