India TV's back-to-back sting operations revolving around cine-star Shakti Kapoor and TV star Aman Verma have apparently delivered for the channel. TAM Media Research numbers show that beginning right from the Swaminarayan Temple reportage, India TV numbers have shown an increase.
Beginning with numbers for the recent exposés, for the C&S 15+, the channel sees an increase of 1.5 million viewers taking the reach of week 12 to 9.9 million. Also, the channel share in the news genre for India TV has increased to 11 per cent from the previous week's 7 per cent.
"The increase is significant," said OMS' Amit Ray, "What this has definitely done for the channel is increase in awareness. In case of other factors like distribution, I don't know how much change have come. Cable operators might have just put the channel on the prime band for a few days when these controversies took place and then taken them off."
A point that Divya Radhakrishnan, Vice President, The Media Edge, agreed with, though partially, "An increase in awareness does manifest in distribution as well. However, the nature of content cannot be neglected here. The channel has encashed on 'sensationalism.' There would be a select kind of audience, interested in this type of news and they will definitely want the channel now."
Experts believed that the most effected by the increase in India TV numbers would be the channels who are on the 'sansani' platform. Nonetheless, from here the only way forward for the channel would be to build on its current properties.
"Formats like 'Aap Ki Adaalat' are already well and stickiness leads to loyalty," added Radhakrishnan, "The channel has managed to break the wall around it and now it needs to keep the pace going."
Commenting on how this would help in advertiser reactions, Ray said, "Advertisers by and large don't really go in the details of the nature of the content. However, this can open roads for the small advertisers on the channel."
Another point that Ray brought forth is that while these stints have increased the sampling for the channel, end of the day this nature of content brings its drawbacks as well. "Various news papers and film magazines who tried using sensationalism have proven time and again that it is a short term business. These are cheap thrills and you are just frustrating audience, not building a loyal base for yourself. This act was to increase TRPs only and that is justified too. But in that case, you can't call yourself a channel that will change India!"
Many eyes would be on the channel now to see how it builds the road ahead for itself. Bottom line remains that India TV has created awareness around its brand. Whether the manner it chose would help it in the longer run is anyone's guess.