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Guest Column: Who leads the changing face of southern Indian news?: Chinta Shyamsundar, Brand Consultant

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Guest Column: Who leads the changing face of southern Indian news?: Chinta Shyamsundar, Brand Consultant

Among over 870 channels permitted to launch in India, close to 40 per cent are news channels. Yet, the viewership of these channels account for less than 10 per cent. It is because the genre continues to be a ‘snacking content’ compared to highly sticky GECs and movie channels.  


There is India and there is the south, a separate country by itself in many ways. The news genre and viewership there has many faces with viewership of news channels accounting to less than 8 per cent.   







Total Number of channels





News GRPs





News Genre %










Avg impressions (000s)





Source: Ratings (NCCS 15+ Avg Wk 8-36’2017 with respect to the concerned Total Market)


The audience for news channels stands at an average of 651321 impressions (000s) per week in these four southern states. AP tops with 240064 impressions (000s) followed by Karnataka at 162523 impressions (000s) per week. Interestingly, Tamil Nadu, which had GECs gaining more viewership than that of Hindi GECs, has lowest news genre contribution with 5.7 per cent. Kerala has a bigger story to tell with 9.3 per cent viewership coming from news channels. Recently, Asianet News (No.1 player) scored better ratings than one of the top GECs, which is special coming from God’s own country. 


Karnataka: Not too long ago, TV9 Kannada ratings used to be over 50 per cent of the total news channels despite over a dozen players. Presently, the top two channels account for about 51 per cent ratings. 


Top 2 News Channels

TV 9 Karnataka

Public TV

GRPs – 8 weeks average



Source: BARC Data; TG: 8 weeks average - NCCS 15+; Period: Wk29-36’2017; Karnataka Market. 


TV9 continues to lead in Karnataka followed by Public TV, the five-year-old channel, which has managed to narrow the gap between the first and second position. TV9 rates 39 per cent higher than Public TV and Public TV is 43 per cent higher than the third position players. 


Due to forthcoming elections in 2018, Karnataka is all set to welcome the launch of around three to four news channels in the next few months.


Andhra Pradesh, Telangana: The Telugu states have the highest number of news channels in the south. TV9 Telugu continues to dominate in their original home territory with 17 per cent margin over the nearest player, NTV Telugu. The neck-to-neck competition for the second, third and fourth position has been a regular scenario for some time now.


Top 2 News Channels

TV 9 Telugu

NTV Telugu

GRPs – 8 weeks average



Source: BARC Data; TG: 8 weeks average - NCCS 15+; Period: Wk29-36’2017; AP/Telangana Market. 


Interestingly AP’s 29 per cent GRPs comes from prime time and 71 per cent from non-prime time slots which is the lowest in Southern India.


Kerala: The 100 per cent literate state seems to have more hunger for news with 10.83 per cent (8 weeks avg) rating coming from eight news channels which is relatively the highest in the south. 


Top 2 News Channels

Asianet News

Manorama News

GRPs – 8 weeks average



Source: BARC Data; TG: 8 weeks average - NCCS 15+; Period: Wk29-36’2017; Kerala Market. 


The undisputed leader, Asianet News, continues to rule the market. In the recent past, it has registered the highest ever GRPs and even beaten GECs with 309 GRPs (Wk 8,  2017:  AB Male 22+ Kerala U+R.) Asianet News rates 49 per cent higher than the No.2 player, Manorama News. 


Tamil Nadu: The news genre percentage stands at 5.7 per cent (8 weeks avg) which is the lowest in the south. Polimer news is a clear No.1 with 24 per cent margin with its No.2 player, Puthiya Thalaimurai.  Close competition is observed for the second and third position with Thanthi TV in the race. TN too gets 30 per cent of the GRPs from prime time.


Top 2 News Channels

Polimer News

Puthiya Thalaimurai

GRPs – 8 weeks average



Source: BARC Data; TG: 8 weeks average - NCCS 15+; Period: Wk29-36’2017;  TN/Pondicherry Market. 


There is a big space left for new players in south India. Most of the channels are run by owners who directly or indirectly have political links. Hence, one can expect very few channels to have unbiased and credible news presentations. At times, many channels are ‘too local’ in their news perspective and issues and credible national news channels might not do this. The Kannada GECs have seen a sea change in the last few years post the entry of national players like Star and Colors. Such a big perspective for presenting new and aggressive content mix is missing in news. Despite having plenty of news channel in each state, the numbers are driven by the top or maximum two players which means that the rest are just there and struggling to survive (needless to say with huge losses.) The reason for this is that many of these channels are busy in running it and lack the vision to build a brand that can create value and self-sustainability for itself.


(The author is a Brand Consultant from Bengaluru)


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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