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Hindi news channels continue strong run in 2018

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BENGALURU:The combined total viewership of the top-five Hindi news channels shows that it has a huge audience when compared to the combined total viewership of the top-five news channels of each of the four South Indian languages individually. However, when audiences of the top-five news channels of the four South Indian languages are combined, their 15-week average viewership exceeds the 15-week average ofthe combined total of the top-five Hindi news channels’ viewership by about 13 percent. Though the audience demographics of Hindi and the four South Indian languages are different (13 years difference), they have been compared in the chart. English news has not been mentioned in the first graph because (1) of the wide variance in the audience demographics between the South Indian language news and Indian English news which is 20 years (2) the viewership of Indian English news is too small to be comparable.

This report is about Indian news channels—including Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and English—for which limited ratings data is available in the public domain. Business news channels or news channels in other languages have not been included in this report. The ratings data considered has limitations–it has been sourced from Broadcast Audience Research Council of India’s (BARC) weekly lists of the top-five news channels in each language.

The first fifteen weeks of 2018 is the period starting Saturday, 30 December 2018 to Friday, 13 April 2018, the last week for which BARC data was available at the time of writing of this report.

BARC says that its data is based on the following viewer geographies and demographic parameters for news in Hindi, the four South Indian languages and English:

(a)     Hindi news: Hindi-speaking markets, both urban and rural or HSM (U+R): NCCS All: 15+ Individuals.

(b)     Telugu news: Andhra Pradesh or AP/Telangana (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals

(c)     Kannada news: Karnataka (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals

(d)     Tamil news: Tamil Nadu/Puducherry (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals

(e)     Malayalam news: Kerala (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals

(f)      English news: All India (U+R): NCCS AB: Males 22+ Individuals.

The unit of viewership measure in all cases in the charts below is thousand weekly impressions.

The overall status

Let us see how the top-five channels of five languages–Hindi and the four South Indian languages–have performed. Please refer to the chart below.

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News viewership is event driven. The biggest event that occurred during the first 15 weeks of 2018 was the discussions and debates just before, during and after the elections results announcement of some Indian states in week 9 of 2018–ratings of all the channels peaked as is obvious from the figure. The only exception was Kannada news, the genre’s peak was in week 8 of 2018 based on the combined viewership of the top-five Kannada news channels.

The combined viewership of the top-five Hindi news channels in week 9 was a staggering 931.068 million impressions–almost at par with the most-watched channel across genre in the country–Sun Network’s flagship Tamil GEC Sun TV. The lowest combined viewership of the top-five Hindi news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018 was in week 15–just 393.013 million impressions–this was the week that the eleventh season of the cricket Indian Premier League or IPL 11 commenced and was aired on a number of Star India network channels. The importance of the IPL on viewership and cannot be understated and must be underscored. In the very first week of the tourney, one of the many Star India Network channels that aired the event—Star Sports 1 Hindi, catapulted into BARC’s top 10 channels across genre weekly list to second place with 935.856 million impressions—more than the peak combined impressions of the top-five Hindi news channels in week 9 of 2018. Before IPL 11 in week 15 of 2018, Star Sports 1 Hindi had never made it to BARC’s list of top-10 channels across genres in 2018!

After Hindi news channels, Telugu news channels had the next largest audience during the first 15 weeks of 2018 going by the combined weekly totals of the top-five Telugu news channels. On a similar basis, at third place in terms of audience size was Kannada News, followed by Tamil news at fourth rank and Malayalam news at fifth place.

Top Hindi news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018

Only three channels consistently appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top-five Hindi News channels in HSM (U+R) during the first 15 weeks of 2018. In order of viewership, they wereAajTak, Zee News and India TV.

Three more Hindi news channels made appearances in BARC’s weekly lists of top-five Hindi News channels during the first fifteen weeks of 2018. They were News 18 India (present in the lists for 14 of the first 15 weeks of 2018); ABP News (present in the lists for 11 of the first 15 weeks of 2018); and News Nation (present in the lists for 5 of the first 15 weeks of 2018).  As is obvious from the figure below, all the top 3 channels reported a drop in ratings in week 15 as compared to week 14 of 2018. Please refer to the chart below for the Top Hindi News channels - Weeks 1 to 15 of 2018. As has been mentioned in this paper before, the unit on the Y-axis in the graph is thousand weekly impressions.

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Top Telugu news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018

Four channels consistently made it to BARC’s weekly lists of top-five Telugu News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018. They were TV9 Telugu; NTV Telugu; V6 News; and TV 5 News. The other three Telugu channels that made it to the lists include 10 TV (present in the lists for 8 of first 15 weeks of 2018); ABN Andhra Jyothi (present in the lists for 4 of the first 15 weeks of 2018); and T News (present in the lists for 3 of the first 15 weeks of 2018).

Please refer to the figure below. As is obvious, TV9 Telugu was in general the top Telugu News channel, but, for a few weeks, it had been overtaken by the second ranked NTV Telugu, which itself was overtaken by V6 News to second place for one week—week 13 of 2018.

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Top Kannada news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018

In the case of Kannada News channels, four channels were consistently present in BARC’s list of top-five Kannada News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018. They were TV9 Kannada, Public TV, Suvarana News 24X7 and News18 Kannada. From the figure below, it is quite obvious that the demarcations in the ranks are simple. TV9 Kannada was consistently the most viewed Kannada News channel, followed by Public TV. It was only for one week (week 14) during the first 15 weeks of 2018 that there was a small blip when News18 Kannada replaced Suvarna News 24X7 at third place.

Two more news channels made it to BARC’s weekly lists of Top-five Kannada News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018. In order of the viewership size they attracted when they were present in BARC list, they were BTV News (present BARC’s weekly lists for 7 of the 15 weeks) and Dighvijay 24x7 News (present in BARC’s weekly lists for 8 of the 15 weeks).  The former drew more eyeballs during the seven weeks it was present in BARC’s list than the latter did during the 8 weeks that it was present in BARC’s lists.

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Top Tamil news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018

Four channels were consistently present in BARC’s list of top-five Tamil News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018. In order of ranking they were: Polimer News, Puthiya Thalaimurai, Thanti TV and News 7 Tamil.  Clearly, Polimer News was the most watched Tamil News channel during the first 15 weeks of 2018. Puthiya Thalaimurai was ranked second for 9 of the first 15 weeks of 2018, and was ranked third for 6 of the weeks of 2018. Thanti TV was ranked second for 6 of first 15 weeks and ranked third for 9 of the first 15 weeks of 2018, while News 7 Tamil was ranked fourth consistently during the first 15 weeks of 2018.

Three more channels made it BARC’s list of top-five Tamil News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018. They were Sun TV (present in BARC’s weekly lists for 11 of the 15 weeks); News 18 Tamil Badu (present in BARC’s weekly lists for 3 of the 11 weeks); while Seithigal made its lone appearance in week 13 of 2018 in BARC’s weekly lists of top-five Tamil news channels during the period under review.

Please refer to the figure below:

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Top Malayalam news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018

Three channels made it consistently to BARC’s weekly lists of top-five Malayalam News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018. They were Asianet News, Manorama News and Mathrubhumi News. The rank demarcations were quite clear.Asianet News was the leader of the genre by far during the period under review.

Four other news channels made it to BARC’s weekly lists of top-five Malayalam News channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018–they were News 18 Kerala (present in BARC’s weekly lists for 12 of the 15 weeks); Media One TV (also present in BARC’s weekly lists for 12 of the 15 weeks, but with lower viewership than News 18 Kerala when present in the lists); People TV (present in BARC’s weekly lists for 5 of the 15 weeks) and Janam TV which made its single appearance in week 3 of 2018.

Please refer to the figure below:

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Top Indian English news channels during the first 15 weeks of 2018

The Indian English news channel genre is niche and special. Generally, five channels made it consistentlyto BARC’s weekly lists of top-five English News channels. However, the Times group’s civic issues focused News channel Mirror Now (the erstwhile MagicBricks Now that was earlier focused on real estate news and information) has grabbed viewers interest and was present in BARC’s lists of top-five English News channels twice during the first 15 weeks of 2018. Mirror Now made it to BARC’s weekly lists of top-fiveEnglish News channels in weeks 6 and 9 of 2018 during the first 15 weeks of 2018. In the past (before 2018) a few other English News channels including international news channels such as BBC World and Indian News channels such as NewsX and Wion have made it to BARC’s weekly lists of top-five English news channels.

Coming back to the present, the four channels which were consistently present in BARC’s lists of top-five English News channels were: Republic TV, Times Now, India Today Television, and CNN News18 during the first 15 weeks of 2018. The other regular to the lists has been the Prannoy and Radhika Roy led NDTV 24x7 which was present in BARC’s weekly lists of top-five News channels for 13 of the first 15 weeks of 2018.

The rank demarcations in terms of viewership of the English News genre were quite clear during the first 15 weeks of 2018–the Arnab Goswami led Republic TV has been the pack leader right from the week Republic TV was launched–week 19 of 2017. However, viewership of the earlier numerouno and Goswami’s former employer, Times Now, has almost equalled Republc TV’s ratings twice in 2018–in weeks 8 and 12. Please refer to the figure below:

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Also Read :

IPL 11 catapults Star Sports 1 Hindi to second place in across genres

Zee Anmol leads Hindi GEC (U+R) in BARC week 15

Republic TV continues to lead as English news genre ratings drop

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