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Hindi News genre versus Indian English News during festival week

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BENGALURU: Previously, we asked if the Indian English News genre was faced with festival blues – pre, during and post the biggest Indian festival season of Diwali that happened in week 42 of 2017 (Saturday, 14 October 2017 to Friday 20 October 2017). How did big brother – the Hindi News genre fare? According to Broadcast Audience Research Council of India’s (BARC) weekly data, combined weekly ratings of the top five Hindi News channels also declined, but not as much as the smaller siblings have.

The variation in the Hindi News genre’s combined weekly ratings of the top five channels from its average ratings (between weeks 19 to 43 of 2017 excluding week 21) during weeks 41, 42 and 43 were -6.4 percent, -10.2 percent and -10.9 percent respectively. At the same time the variations in the Indian English News genre’s combined weekly ratings of the top five channels from its average ratings during weeks 41, 42 and 43 were -29 percent, -26.2 percent and -25.2 percent respectively.

The slide of the combined weekly ratings of the top five Hindi News channels continued pre, during and post Diwali. Their combined weekly ratings declined from 440.188 impressions in week 41 of 2017 to 422.233 million weekly impressions in Diwali week 42 of 2017 and slid even further to 419.260 million weekly impressions in week 43 of 2017. In the case the Indian English News channels, combined ratings of the top 5 channels dropped in the week 41 to 1.986 million weekly impressions, then rose a bit during Diwali week to 2.050 million weekly impressions and then fell slightly again in week 43 to 2.026 million weekly impressions.

The viewership and ratings of Hindi News and the English News genres differ. The Hindi News genre had a relatively steady viewership during the first 43 weeks of 2017. Ratings across the top three Hindi channels have had narrower margins between each other as compared to the English genre which was dominated by just two channels. Three top Hindi News channels garnered about 65 percent (almost two thirds) of the genre’s ratings. These were Aaj Tak (A little above 25 percent of the genre’s average ratings in 2017); Zee News (A little more than 20 percent of the genre’s average ratings in 2017) and ABP News (A little more than 19 percent of the genre’s average ratings in 2017).

The two channels that dominated the Indian English News genre were Republic TV (almost 36 percent of the genre’s average ratings in 2017); and Times Now (almost 30 percent of the genre’s average ratings in 2017). The Arnab Goswami led Republic TV was launched on 6 May 2017 (beginning of week 19 of 2017). In week 21 of 2017 English News channels, with the support of the News Broadcasters Association, excluding Republic TV, had withdrawn from BARC ratings measurement in protest against what they claimed were unfair practices by Republic TV. Hence the numbers considered above for the Indian English News genre, Republic TV and Times Now are for the period between weeks 19 and 43, and excludes data for week 21 of 2017.

Notwithstanding a difference in the consumer data classification for ratings for the two genres, the Hindi News genre has had a much larger viewership than the Indian English News genre.  Ratings considered in this paper for the Hindi News genre have been measured across HSM (U+R) : NCCS All : 15+ Individuals, while those of the Indian English News genre have been measured across All India (U+R): NCCS AB : Males 22+ Individuals. This means that the data for the Hindi News genres includes persons of all genders above 15 years of age, while in the case of the English News genre, the data only covers all males above 22 years of age. NCCS is the new consumer classification system adopted by the audience measurement body BARC. The average weekly combined ratings of the top five Hindi News channels between weeks 19 and 43 excluding week 21 of 2017 was 470.307 million impressions, while that of the Indian English News genre during weeks 19 to 43 excluding week 21 was 2.875 million impressions.

The Hindi News genre started with relatively higher ratings in week one of 2017 and dropped in weeks two and three before rising to the genre’s second highest ratings in week 11 of 2017.This was the week during which election results of five states in India were announced. On the other hand, BARC weekly data for the top five English News genre showed that the lowest combined ratings of the top five English News channels in 2017 until week 43 were in week two of 2017 (Saturday, 7 January 2017 to Friday 13 January 2017) at 1.179 million weekly impressions. Week one of 2017, with 1.218 million weekly impressions, had the second lowest ratings in 2017 until week 43.

The ratings of the Hindi News genre declined during the weeks that IPL 10 was played (week 14 to 20 of 2017) and fell further for another four weeks after IPL 10. The ratings of the Indian English News genre also started to decline in week 14 with the commencement of the IPL, but then rose sharply again with the launch of Republic TV in week 19. The combined weekly ratings of the top five English News channels in week 19 at 4.282 million were the second highest ratings scored by the genre during the first 43 week of 2017, with Republic TV garnering about half the ratings of the genre – 2.115 million weekly impressions in that week.

The combined ratings of the top five Hindi News channels in week 24 at 350.836 million weekly impressions were the genre’s lowest ratings in 2017 until the time of writing of this report, before rising again to the highest ratings of the genre in 2017 to date. This was in week 35 of 2017, the week that saw the court verdict and the resultant arrest of Indian godman Ram Rahim. News about the fate of Ram Rahim on Monday, 28 August 2017 was one of the most watched events on news television in the recent past in India. Viewership of the Hindi News genre grew 2.1 times from 121.5 million impressions (the average viewership for the previous four Mondays’) to 256.1 million impressions on Monday, 28 August 2017 according to BARC data.

On the other hand, viewership of the top five the English News channels actually shrank by 1.2 percent in week 35 to 2.942 million weekly impressions from 2.979 million weekly impressions in week 34 of 2017. It is probably the Ram Rahim verdict day news that helped English News channels retain their previous week’s ratings. The English News Genre grew by 46 percent from 482 thousand impressions (Av Impressions for the last 4 Mondays) to 703 thousand impressions on Monday 28 August 2017 according to BARC data.

Please refer to the two charts below for ratings of the Hindi News and the Indian English News channels during the first 42 weeks of 2017, albeit with an explanation before the second chart.

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The Arnab Goswami led Republic TV is a major force to reckon with in the English News genre. Right from its launch, the channel has been garnering a huge chunk of the genres combined ratings. It has usurped the previous leader Times Now’s numero uno position in the English News genre from the very first week of its launch to date in 2017.

Republic TV’s average contribution to the combined ratings of the top five English News channels is about 36 percent – more than a third. In its launch week, the channel had contributed 49.44 percent to the combined ratings of the top five English News channels. Its lowest contribution to the genre’s ratings has been 30.56 percent in week 35 of 2017 (Saturday 26 August 2017 to Friday, 1 September 2017) – the channel had scored 0.899 million weekly impressions of the genre top five channels ratings combined total of 2.942 million weekly impressions. Hence the figure below shows two curved lines – one that includes the ratings of the top five English News channels including Republic TV and another that shows the combined ratings of the second, third, fourth and fifth ranked channels, or ratings without Republic TV ratings (w/o Republic TV).

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