Television

Analysis: Top South Indian news channels in 2018

State elections and major events lead to spike in viewership.

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BENGALURU: South Indians consumed more news  of the top 5 channels in their local languages than their Hindi speaking brethren of top 5 Hindi News channels  in their respective markets in 2018. Amongst the four south Indian languages spoken in six states, Malayalis’ (Denizens of Kerala, language Malayalam) consumed more news per household (HH) and per capita on the top 5 Malayama News channels than their South Indian brethren in 2018.  Overall, Kannadigas’ (People from Karnataka, language Kannada) consumed more volume of news in terms of average weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018 on the top 5 Kannada News channels than the consumers of news on top 5 channels in the other three South Indian languages. The four South Indian languages are (in alphabetical order) Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.

It may be noted that this analysis is based on Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) weekly data of top 5 News channels for each of the four South Indian languages and Hindi News as per the following demographics:

Kannada News: Karnataka  Urban and Rural or (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Malayalam News: Kerala (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Tamil News: Tamil Nadu/Puducherry (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Telugu News: Andhra Pradesh or AP/Telangana (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Hindi News in HSM Markets (U+R): NCCS All 15+ Individuals

To arrive at the per capita viewership or consumption, the author has considered the 52 week average number divided by the respective population of the respective market as per BARC India, Households and Individuals Universe Estimate – 2018 (BARC Population Estimates 2018). BARC considers HSM or Hindi Speaking Market as All India without the four South Indian markets. Hence, the author has subtracted the NCCS 15+ population of the four South Indian markets from the All India NCCS 15+ population to arrive at the HSM 15+ population numbers. In the case of per capita consumption for South India, the author has taken the sum of average weekly impressions of the top 5 channels for each language and then added the four sums to arrive at the total average weekly impressions for South India, this total average has then been divided by the 2+ population figures for each of the four languages/six states as per BARC Population Estimates 2018.

Overall, across their four languages South Indians averaged 2.32 impressions per person per week of news  on the top 5 News channels in their respective language and territories in 2018 as compared to just 0.99 impressions per person per week of Hindi news on the top 5 Hindi News channels consumed in the HSM (U+R).  The combined average weekly news consumption of the top 5 news channels in each of the four South Indian languages was 6,00,473.88 thousand (000s) weekly impressions in their respective markets as compared to 4,92,359.25 (000s) weekly impressions viewership of the top 5 Hindi News in the HSM (U+R) market.

Please refer to the figure below:

Across the 52 weeks of 2018, viewership ratings of South Indian News channels was different when compared to viewership of Hindi News Channels. Even within the four South Indian languages, viewership ratings across weeks trended differently. South Indian news viewership in the respective South Indian markets peaked during weeks 32 and 33 of 2018 . In week 32, floods in Kerala and the death of the Tamil leader K Karunanidhi on 8 August 2018 spiked viewership in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Like the HSM, Television news viewership peaked in week 33 in the South Indian markets also, and was relatively higher than HSM news viewership of top News channels in the respective markets.  Week 33 of 2018 was the week when Indians celebrated Independence day on 15 August and the former Indian premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away the next day of 16 August. Please refer to the figure below

South Indian News channels Trends

As mentioned above, per capita local television Malayalam news consumption in Kerala is the highest amongst the four languages, while in terms of absolute viewership Kannada News in Karnataka scores the most average weekly impressions. The figure below is a scaled part of the figure above.

Kannada News channels in Karnataka

There were four news channels that appeared in BARC’s list of top 5 Kannada News channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018 – they were TV9 Kannada, Public TV, Suvarna News 24x7 and News18 Kananda. TV9 Kannada was by far the most watched Kannada News channel in Karnataka with average weekly impressions of 78,059.65 (000s), about 64 percent more than the next most watched Kannada News channel in Karnataka – Public TV which scored an average of 47,622.5 (000s) weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018. Suvarna News 24x7 was next with an average of 30,951.44 (000s) weekly impressions followed by News18 Kannada with a weekly average of 21,724.06 (000s) weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018. Two other channels appeared in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Kannada News channels during the 52 weeks of 2018 – they were Dighvijay 24x7 News (45 weeks) and BTV (7 weeks). Please refer to the figure below.

As is obvious, Kannada News channels viewership in Karnataka peaked during the announcement of the drama laced results of the Karnataka State Assembly Elections in week 20 of 2018.

Malayalam News channels in Kerala

There were three Malayalam News channels that appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Malayalam News channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018 – they were – Asianet News, Manorama News and Mathrubhumi News. Asianet News was by far the most watched Malayalam News channel in Kerala during all the 52 weeks of 2018 with average weekly ratings of 44,453 (000s) weekly impressions. Manorana News was next with an average of 23,157.13 (000s) weekly impressions, or about 52 percent of the ratings of Asianet News. Mathrubhumi News was next with average weekly impressions of 18,168.36 (000s) weekly impressions. Four other channels also appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Malayalam News channels during the 52 weeks of 2108 – In no particular order, they were – News18 Kerala (43 weeks), Media One TV (42 weeks), Janam TV (12 weeks) and People TV (7 weeks).

As in the case of Kannada News, Malayalam News viewership in Kerala also peaked in the face of local events – on 8 August 2018 ( during week 32 of 2018) Kerala was hit by some of the worst floods in its history due to excessive rainfall. In its neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, one of India’s senior most politicians – K Karunanidi had passed away the previous day.  These events led to the surge in Malayalam News television ratings during the week. Please refer to the figure below.

Tami News channels in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

Two channels appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Tamil channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018. They were Poliimer News with average weekly impressions of 42,361.37 (000s) followed by Thanthi TV with 24,498.6 (000s) average weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018.

Four other channels - Puthiya Thalaimurai (50 weeks), Sun News (41 weeks), News18 Tamil Nadu (27 weeks) and Seithigal (1 week) also appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Tamil News channels during the 52 weeks of 2018.

Like its Kannada and Malayalam news counterparts, Tamil News ratings peaked in Tamil Nadu/Puducherry in week 32 of 2018. On 7 August 2018 (week 32 of 2018) one of India’s senior most politicians and a former chief minister of the state – K Karunanidi had passed away. Also, floods in the neighbouring state of Kerala could have added to the viewership during week 32 of 2018. Please refer to the figure below.

Telugu News channels in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Like all the other South Indian counterparts, Telugu News channels viewership in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana spiked upwards for local events – the biggest spike coming in week 50 of 2018, the week in which results of the assembly elections in Telangana were announced.

Four channels appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Telugu News channels during all the 52 weeks of 2018. They were: TV9 Telugu with average weekly impressions of 49,830.42 (000s) followed by NTV Teleugu with an average of  36,230.21 (000s) weekly impressions or about 72.7 percent of the viewership of TV9 Telugu. TV5 News was next with average 30,915.17 (000s) weekly impressions followed closely by V6 News with an average of 29,752.38 (000s) weekly impressions during the 52 weeks of 2018.  Four other Telugu News channels also appeared in BARC’s weekly list of Top 5 Telugu News channels during 2018. They were  T News (24 weeks), Sakshi TV (16 weeks), 10 TV (8 weeks) and ABN Andhra Jyothi (4 weeks). Please refer to the figure below.

Conclusions

South Indians watch more local news on the top 5 channels of their respective languages than their Hindi speaking counterparts do in the case of Top 5 Hindi News channels in Hindi speaking markets.

Per capita local news consumption of top 5 News channels in Kerala is highest among the four South Indian languages. Overall, in terms of impressions, more Kannada news on the top 5 News channels in Karnataka is consumed than any of the other three South Indian languages.

Viewership of South Indian languages news channels spikes when local events occur. The highest spikes in viewership of the Top 5 News channels in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh/Telagana happened in the weeks when state assembly elections were announced in their respective markets. The highest spikes in viewership of Malayalam News and Tamil News channels happened during a calamity and death of a great political leader respectively.

Viewership in respective markets of South Indian News channels also spikes in the case of a national event – such as Independence Day celebrations and the death of a national figure such as the former prime minister happen.

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