Television

Most watched Hindi news channels in 2018

Aaj Tak turns out to be the most popular channel.

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BENGALURU: News is event driven – that is a fact that is known and repeated a dozen times and more by all publications, newsletters, and whatnots.  As per a Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) report presented at FICCI-Frames 2018, Hindi content still rules the Indian television landscape in terms of viewership. After Hindi GEC, Hindi movies and Hindi music, Hindi news is the most watched genre in the country. The report also says that contrary to popular perception, TV viewership is highest amongst youth (15-30 years) even in the digital age.
The BARC report says that news events cannot escape the lure of drama. And drama includes elections and election results, deaths of celebrities, high court and supreme court verdicts on celebrities and sensitive issues, major changes such as demonetisation announced by the central government, major public holidays such as Independence and Republic days and events that pertain to terrorist attacks and counter-attacks, etc.

Data from the past few days have not been announced due to the migration to the new TRAI tariff regime from 1 February. BARC is giving the industry time to settle.

So how did Hindi television news fare in 2018?

Until recently, BARC had been releasing three sets of weekly viewership data for Hindi news in the Hindi speaking markets (HSM). The first was the combined viewership of the 5 top Hindi news channels in urban and rural Hindi speaking market – HSM (U+R). Besides, BARC also provided weekly viewership data of the 5 top Hindi news channels in the Hindi Speaking rural market - HSM (R) and the Hindi speaking urban market – HSM (U). The demographics for the three sets of data were: HSM (U+R) NCCS All : 15+ individuals; HSM (R) NCCS All : 15+ individuals and HSM (U) NCCS All : 15+ individuals.

Like English news, Hindi news also peaked during elections that happened in central and the eastern part of India in calendar year 2018. Comparatively, the elections and elections results week in Karnataka managed just a small upward blip in overall Hindi viewership ratings in HSM (U+R), HSM (R) and HSM (U) as compared to English news channels.

The most watched Hindi news channel in the Hindi speaking market (HSM) – be it urban (U), rural (R) or combined (U+R) was India Today TV Network’s Aaj Tak during the 52 weeks of 2018. The channel was present during all the 52 weeks of 2018 according to Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) data for weeks 1 to 52 of 2018 (Saturday, 30 December 2017 to Friday, 28 December 2018) in all the three weekly lists for HSM (U+R), HSM (U) and HSM (R).

Viewership of the top 5 Hindi news channels in HSM (U+R) peaked in week 49 of 2018 – election results week of five states in the Hindi heartland and the north eastern part of the country – the top 5 channels scored a massive 931.068 million weekly impressions – 89 percent more than the 52 week weekly average of 492.539 million weekly impressions. The nadir was in week 19 of 2018 – a 34 percent dip at 324.188 million weekly impressions from the above mentioned 52 week average. Like their English counterparts, Hindi news channels also peaked during Independence Day week – the major events in these weeks being Independence day celebrations on 15 August 2018 and the demise of former Indian premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee the very next day -16 August 2018.

Aaj Tak topped BARC’s weekly lists for HSM (U+R) during the 52 weeks of 2018 in terms of overall viewership. In HSM (U+R), Zee News was the second most watched Hindi news channel during the 52 weeks of 2018, followed by India TV. Only three channels appeared in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Hindi news channels in HSM (U+R) during all the 52 weeks of 2018. Aaj Tak was ranked first for 50 of the 52 weeks of 2018, followed by Zee News and India TV which were ranked first for one week each in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Hindi news channels in HSM (U+R). Please refer to the figure below.

In the HSM (R) market also, Aaj Tak topped ratings – it was ranked first for 51 of the 52 weeks of 2018. The one week where it was ranked third in terms of viewership was week 18 of 2018. Aaj Tak was the only channel that was present in BARC’s weekly list of top 5 Hindi news channels in HSM (R) during all the 52 weeks of 2018.
Rural audiences also reacted like the overall Hindi speaking market – viewership peaked during the election results week of north-eastern India, Independence Day/Vajpayee week and the elections in the eastern part and Hindi heartlands towards the closing month of 2018. The elections and election results weeks for Karnataka did not mar the charts too much. 
In HSM (R), the combined weekly ratings of the top 5 Hindi news channels were highest in week 50 of 2018 at 418.124 million weekly impressions, 94 percent more than the 52 week average of 215.162 million weekly impressions in 2018. The lowest combined impressions of the top 5 Hindi news channels in HSM (R) in 2018 were in week 2 of 2018 at 190.280 million weekly impressions.  Please refer to the graph below.

HSM (U) also behaved in practically the same way that HSM (U+R) did in terms of viewership peaks and dips. Election results in the beginning of year and towards the fag end of the year in north-eastern and the Hindi heartland as well as Independence Day week saw viewership peaks. HSM (U) viewership ratings peaked in week13 of 2018 with combined weekly impressions of the top 5 Hindi news channels at 541.398 million weekly impressions, which were 93 percent more than the 52 week combined weekly impressions average of 280.285 million. The lowest combined weekly impressions happened in week 2 of 2019, at 264.155 million weekly impressions, 5.8 percent lower than the combined 52 week average for HSM (U).

Aaj Tak, ABP News, India TV and Zee News were present in BARC’s weekly lists of top 5 Hindi News channels in HSM (U) during all the 52 weeks of 2018. Aaj Tak was the most watched Hindi News channel in HSM urban also. Please refer to the figure below.


 

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