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Agencies should add news genre to regular planning: Network18's Karan Abhishek Singh

When it comes to news consumption, Tamil Nadu out-consumes some states by as much as 2:1 ratio.

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MUMBAI: The news genre should be included by agencies for its impact as a full planning platform and not just an add-on. This was the view echoed by News18 Network CEO-languages Karan Abhishek Singh at Tele-Wise Tamil 2019 organised by Indiantelevision.com on 6 August 2019.

At the event, Singh spoke on the relevance of the news genre in the Tamil Nadu market which is dominated by GECs and movies. He said that news as a genre has grown fastest in the past one year.

Mapping the growth of regional news channel in the state, Singh urged advertising agencies to add the news genre to their regular planning. He explained that in the last one year the peaks in news are significantly higher from the demise of Tamil Nadu former CM M Karunanidhi to cyclone Gaja to the national election to Article 370. The peak has been breached around 18 to 19 times. “These are the big event days which create an impact on the viewers and the advertisers. Two or three impacts in a month is an opportunity for the advertisers,” he said.

The top categories on news channels are largely retail outlets. Apart from male-targeted products, news genre is delivering to response-driven categories like retail, film, real estate etc. and these categories have been using the genre consistently. The genre also has the potential to drive long term brand imagery for brands- auto, travel and tourism and insurance.

He also mentioned that auto categories have started advertising on regional channels. Travel and tourism has also become a critical mass category on news. “So the news genre on its own needs to be looked at very differently and not just a frequency builder as part of an advertising campaign because it is the platform that delivers impact consistently month after month,” he said.

Singh believes that news is the fastest growing genre in the country and a large part of this is because of regional news channels. “The genre is growing largely across regional channels and partly in Hindi but not so much in English which was the traditional forte of news consumption,” he said.

“In regional space, the south market is extremely news intensive. When it comes to news consumption, Tamil Nadu out-consumes some of the states by as much as 2:1 ratio,” he said.

Within the South, the interesting part is that Tamil Nadu has very unique pattern of consuming news. The Tamil Nadu audience watches more news in the early morning. About 55-56 per cent of the day’s viewership comes from the time band of 6 am to 2 pm. “Tamil Nadu news has given a completely new definition to news primetime. There is no other market which has this kind of pattern,” opined Singh.

Singh also said, “At overall TV level, Tamil Nadu is one of the largest viewership markets in the country based on the component of early morning and mid-day news viewership and traditional primetime viewership on GECs and movies. And with every spike in the news cycle, the overall TV viewership increases. News is consistently among the top three genres in the state and continuously reducing the gap with the second genre i.e. movies.”

Singh concluded, “A few years ago, the reach of news was 52 - 53 per cent and today news reaches 70 per cent of the viewership on a weekly basis. The news genre is rapidly growing in Tamil Nadu because of its sticky content. Regional news channels have the opportunities to build and by this I don’t mean by sensationalising the news but going deeper into what matters in that particular region. We need to engineer the revise brain drain from the larger national platform into the regional platform.”

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