Television

Republic TV, Times Now viewership moves up as genre ratings fall

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BENGALURU: The two top-ranked channels of the Indian English news genre saw small increases in their weekly viewership in week 46 of 2017 (Saturday, 11 November 2017 to Friday, 17 November 2017, period, week under consideration) as compared to the nadir of the previous week. Data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) show that the genre topper from the time of its launch 28 weeks ago Republic TV saw its ratings increase to 0.566 million weekly impressions in week 46 from 0.524 million weekly impressions in week 45. The second-ranked Times Now saw its ratings increase to 0.502 million weekly impressions during the week under consideration from 0.489 million weekly impressions in the previous week.

The other three channels from the top five English saw no change in ranks, but decline in viewership in the period as compared to week 45. They were: NDTV 24x7 at third place with 0.260 million weekly impressions (0.299 million weekly impressions in week 45); India Today Television with 0.250 million weekly impressions (0.295 million weekly impressions in week 45); and CNN News18 with 0.185 million weekly impressions (0.205 million weekly impressions in week 45).

Genre ratings continue declining

The English news genre has seen a decline in ratings over the past few weeks. Analysis of BARC data for the combined ratings of the top five English news channels for weeks 1 to 46 of 2017 increased from the lowest viewership to date of 1.179 million weekly impressions in week 2, to the highest viewership in week 11 to date of 4.987 million weekly impressions. The ratings then started to decline until week 19 of 2017 which saw the launch of the Arnab Goswami-led Republic TV.

In week 19 of 2017, the genre witnessed its second-highest combined weekly ratings of top five channels to date of 4.282 million weekly impressions. Republic TV has topped the genre right from the first week of its launch to date in 2017. Goswami’s channel helped increase the genre’s overall ratings, but its eyeball pull could only retard the slow decline that the genre has seen since then as can be seen from the chart below.

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Since news is event-driven, the above statements also are evident if one were to go by the four week average weekly impressions of the combined ratings of the top five English news genre, rather than weekly numbers. It may be noted that the data for week 21 has not been considered in this paper and hence the four week average weekly impressions of 2.6327 million for the W22-24 period is a three-week average. Further, the number for the last point on the graph (W45-46) of 1.7895 weekly impressions is a 2-week average.

In week 11 of 2017 (Weeks 9 to 12), elections results in five states of the country were announced and hence the ratings of news channels peaked. Weeks 13 to 16 saw a decline in the genre’s ratings because week 14 of 2017 saw the launch of the Indian Premier League. Weeks 17 to 20 were Republic TV’s launch period and as everyone wanted to see how Goswami would perform, the genre’s ratings climbed to a four week average of 2.972 million. The average of weeks 22-24 was a small blip, and since the other English News channels withdrew themselves from BARC ratings, the data will not be discussed any further here.

Weeks 25 to 28 numbers for the top five channels saw the 4-week average ratings climb smartly to 2.9155 million weekly impressions, followed by the highest four week average of the genre in 2017 until now of 3.2695 million weekly impressions in weeks 29 to 32. As is evident from the figure below, the genre’s 4-week average ratings have only declined since then.

Ratings for the same period of the previous year can’t truly be compared to see if decline is a periodic trend because news is generally event driven as mentioned above. For example, in 2016, demonetisation was announced on November 8; in week 28 of 2017, ratings of the Hindi news genre peaked because the Supreme Court’s Ram Rahim verdict was announced in that week.

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