Television

Is there a slow but steady decline in English news ratings?

There seems to have been some stabilisation in the top 3 channels

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BENGALURU: Is viewership of the English news genre dipping? Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India recommenced publishing limited viewership data in the public domain on TRAI’s coercion in week 13 of 2019 after it had ostentatiously stopped doing so to allow ratings to stabilise after implementation of TRAI’s new tariff order from week 6 of 2019. Then in week 23 of 2019, BARC announced that it was reverting to an older method of treatment of the landing pages and outliers. The weeks following week 13 of 2019 have seen two major cricket tourneys being played – the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League in India and the ICC World Cup in England and Wales. Both the tourneys involved matches that overlapped primetime in India. Many parts of the country have been hit by bad weather over the past few weeks. Or is it just that there were a number of weeks that were just too hot before the torrential rains that inundated many parts of India? A BARC paper in the past suggested that weather affects television viewership. The implementation of the new regulatory framework and BARC’s treatment of outlier data are two other factors that also need to be kept in mind when analysing the scenario. One can also make a case for greater viewership interest in the run up to the elections, which now seems to be on the decline. It would be interesting to study if other genres have also been adversely affected.

Please refer to the figure below for the combined weekly impressions of the top five English news channels between weeks 13 and the week under review – week 30 (Saturday, 20 July 2019 to Friday, 26 July 2019). The dotted yellow trendline indicates a slow but steady decline in viewership of the top 5 English news channels between weeks 13 and 30 of 2019. As is obvious, weeks 21 and 22 are the anomalies in the decline – news viewership peaked because of the announcement of the results of the national elections.

It is interesting to note that since the entry of pubcaster Doordarshan’s English news channel DD India into BARC’s weekly list of top 5 English news channels, the channels appearing in the list have been the same, with a slight tweaking in the ranks sometimes. Over the past few weeks, there seems to have been some stabilisation in ranks one, two and three with the Arnab Goswami-led Republic at first place, Times Now at second place and DD India at third place. The jostle for ranks four and five is still on between CNN News India and India Today Television. Please refer to the figure below:

Please refer to the figure below for ratings of the top 5 English news channels.

Ratings of English news channels for week 30 of 2019

The combined ratings of the top five English news channels increased 4.8 percent in week 30 of 2019 to 1.896 million weekly impressions from a low of 1.809 million weekly impressions in week 29. The list of channels and their ranks were the same in week 30 as week 29 of 2019.

Republic TV led the English news genre with ratings of 0.574 million weekly impressions in week 30 of 2019 as compared to 0.564 million weekly impressions in the previous week. At second rank, Times Now scored 0.411 million weekly impressions during the week under review as compared to 0.404 million weekly impressions in week 29 of 2019. At third rank was DD India with 0.400 million weekly impressions in week 30 of 2019 as compared to 0.367 million weekly impressions in week 29. At fourth rank was CNN News18 with 0.283 million weekly impressions in week 30 of 2019 as compared to 0.264 million weekly impressions in week 29. Completing the quintet at fifth rank was India Today Television with 0.228 million weekly impressions in week 30 of 2019 as compared to 0.210 million weekly impressions in the previous week. 

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