Television
Report on Shemaroo

In South India, local language TV news consumption highest in Karnataka

In South India, Kannada average news consumption is highest

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BENGALURU: The four southern languages – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam once represented the languages of the four southern states or four sisters as they were then known – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. With the splitting of Andhra Pradesh into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, these languages now represent five states. Tamil is also a dominant language in the Union Territory of Puducherry. Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) started publishing viewership data of top fivenews channels in the four southern languages since week one of 2018 (Saturday, 30 December 2017 to Friday, 5 January 2018) until week 25 of 2018 (Saturday, 16 June 2018 to Friday, 22 June 2018). BARC publishes data based on the urban and rural (U+R) NCCS All: 2+ Individuals demographics for the following languages in the following markets respectively:

(1)    Tamil: In the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry market

(2)    Telugu: In the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana market

(3)    Kannada: In the Karnataka market

(4)    Malayalam: In the Kerala market

Limited analysis of limited data over the past 25 weeks has revealed some interesting and useful information, more so for media planners and advertisers targeting news watching audiences in these markets. People from Karnataka consume almost twice as much of Kannada news as people from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry consume Tamil news. Please refer to the figure below for weekly impressions of top fivenews channels for each language for week one to 25 of 2018 based on BARC data.

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The author has determined average of the combined weekly impressions of the top five channels of each language over the 25 weeks of 2018 and has divided it by the population of the state based on the census of India 2011 to arrive at the weekly impressions per person. Though not very accurate, (because there are a lot more news channels in each of the four languages that don’t figure in BARC’s top five channels weekly lists, and populations must have grown and the number of households must have changed since 2011) a rough yardstick is better than none.

Average viewership per household has been obtained by dividing the average combined weekly impressions of the top five news channels in each language by the number of households as per the census of India 2011 data for each state. As mentioned above, in the case of Tamilnews, populations of andthe number of households in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have been added, to calculate the per person or per household consumptionnumbers.

Consumption of news based on average weekly impressions of top fivenews channels of each of the four South Indian languages per person based on the census of India 2011 populations of these markets is:

(1)    Kannada: 3.09 weekly impressions per person.

(2)    Malayalam: 2.30 weekly impressions per person.

(3)    Telugu: 1.86 weekly impressions per person (Andhra Pradesh was one state during the 2011 census and population and household numbers of the united state have been taken from the census of India).

(4)    Tamil: 1.59 weekly impressions per person (Populations and number of households of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry based on the census of India 2011 have been added to arrive at the total Tamil speaking population/households).

Please refer to the figure below:

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Each of the South Indian market has been dominated by one news channel whose average weekly viewership exceeded it next closest competitor by more than 20 percent during the first 25 weeks of 2018. So which are the most watched news channels in the four South Indian languages?

Kannada

Six channels have appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top five Kannada news channels during the first 25 weeks of 2018. Four Kannada news channels have appeared in BARC’s list during all the first 25 weeks of the year. In order of viewership, they are: TV9 Kannada, Public TV, Suvarna News 24x7 and News18 Kannada. To give a perspective about the dominance of TV9 Kannada, its average weekly ratings during the first 25 weeks of 2018 were almost 50 percent more than the Public TV, 2.72 times more than Suvarna News 24x7 and about 3.87 times that of News18 Kannada.

The other two channels that featured in BARC’s weekly lists of top five Kannada news channels are Dighvijay 24x7 News (18 of the first 25 weeks of 2018) and BTV News (7 of the first 25 weeks of 2018)

Malayalam

Seven channels have appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top five Malayalam news channels during the first 25 weeks of 2018. Three Malayalam news channels have appeared in BARC’s list during all the first 25 weeks of the year. In order of viewership, they are: Asianet News, Manorama News and Mathrubhumi News. To give a perspective about the dominance of Asianet News, its average weekly ratings during the first 25 weeks of 2018 were more than 2.12 times than Manorama News and more than 2.76 times than Mathrubhumi News.

The other four channels that BARC’s weekly lists of top five Malayalam news channels are: News18 Kerala (22 of the first 25 weeks of 2018), Media One TV (20 of the first 25 weeks of 2018), People TV (7 of the first 25 weeks of 2018) and Janam TV (once during the first 25 weeks of 2018).

Telugu

Eight channels have appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top five Telugu news channels during the first 25 weeks of 2018. Four Telugu news channels have appeared in BARC’s list during all the first 25 weeks of the year. In order of viewership, they are: TV9 Telugu, NTV Telugu, V6 News and TV5 News. To give a perspective about the dominance of TV9 Telugu, its average weekly ratings during the first 25 weeks of 2018 were about 29 percent more than NTV Telugu, about 61 percent more than V6 News and about 73 per cent more than TV5 News.

The other four channels that appeared in BARC’s weekly list of top five Telugu channels during the first 25 weeks of 2018 are: T News (10 of the first 25 weeks of 2018), 10 TV (eight of the first 25 weeks of 2018), ABN Andhra Jyothi (four of the first 25 weeks of 2018), and Sakshi TV (three of the first 25 weeks of 2018).

Tamil

Seven channels have appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top five Tamil news channels during the first 25 weeks of 2018. Three Tamil news channels have appeared in BARC’s list during all the first 25 weeks of the year. In order of viewership, they are: Polimer News, Thanthi TV and Puthiya Thalaimurai. To give a perspective about the dominance of Polimer News, its average weekly ratings during the first 25 weeks of 2018 were almost 47 percent more than Thanthi TV and, about 53 percent more than Puthiya Thalaimurai.

The other four channels that appeared in BARC’s weekly list of top five Tamil channels during the first 25 weeks of 2018 are: News 7 Tamil (23 of the first 25 weeks of 2018), Sun News (14 of the first 25 weeks of 2018), News18 Tamil Nadu (12 of the first 25 weeks of 2018), and Seithigal TV (once during the first 25 weeks of 2018).

How does the South Indian News market compare with the Hindi News market?

According to the census of India 2011, the population of the country was 121 crore (1.21 billion) and the number of households was about 24.95 crore (249.5 million). The combined populations of the four South Indian markets was about 25.2 crore (252 million) or about 20.9 percent of the total population of India based on the census numbers for 2011. The combined number of households of these four markets in 2011 was about 6.1 crore (61 million) or about 24.5 percent of the total number of Indian households.

The comparison would not be very accurate since BARC data available in the public domain is for different age demographics. In the case of the Hindi speaking market (HSM) it is HSM (U+R): NCCS All: 15+ Individuals as compared to the respective markets for each of the South Indian languages (U+R) NCCS All: 2+ Individuals. However, as mentioned above, a rough measure is better than none.

The average combined weekly impressions of the top five Hindi news channels HSM (U+R): NCCS All: 15+ Individuals were about 83 percent of the combined weekly impressions of all the four South Indian languages (U+R) NCCS All: 2+ Individuals during the period under consideration in this paper. The average combined weekly impressions of the top five Kannada news channels in Karnataka (U+R): NCCS All : 2+ Individuals were about 42 percent of the average combined weekly impressions of the top five Hindi news channels HSM (U+R): NCCS All: 15+ Individuals during the first 25 weeks of 2018.

Based on BARC data, a limited and conditional conclusion saying that South Indians consume more television news in their local languages than the consumer in the Hindi speaking market does not seem very inappropriate.

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