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Genre Check: Times Now surges ahead in the English news channels' race

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Genre Check: Times Now surges ahead in the English news channels' race

Much like any other genre, the English news channels, too, lock their horns time and again in heated ratings battles. The last 14 weeks have been a dream run for Times Now with the channel leaving no chance for competition to show better numbers on any count. TAM Media Research shows that for the C&S 15+ in the one million plus markets, Times Now has been topping the ratings chart.

If the TG is skewed further, and the C&S AB M 25+ in the one million plus markets is observed, Times Now has been leading in the English news genre for the last 16 weeks. This is not the first time that Times Now has beaten the others to take the top slot, but the leader in the English news genre has changed often. It is interesting to however note that Times Now has now stayed consistently ahead of the competition for 14 weeks.

Media observers state that one of the things that have been working in favour of the channel is the coverage of various events, which include the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks to the recent interim budget coverage. In all of these events, Times Now has managed to score better than its competition consistently and that has allowed the channel to stay on top.

Meanwhile, NDTV 24x7 has seen a significant drop in the last few weeks, and media observers are attributing this to the distribution of the channel as well. A senior media analyst said, “NDTV has decided not to toe the distribution line in various cases, and this has impacted the channel’s distribution significantly. Especially in the case of a news channel, if the distribution has any limitation, it would reflect on the numbers instantly.”

NDTV 24x7 has been switching places with CNN-IBN that has taken the third place in the genre, and if the average viewership numbers for the last 14 weeks are seen, CNN-IBN has even overtaken NDTV 24x7 in the all C&S 15+ audiences. Headlines Today takes the fourth place in the genre, followed by NewsX, which would be completing one year soon.

Not a loyal following for news channels

Nandini Dias, COO, Lodestar Universal, had said in a conversation with exchange4media that for the English news channel genre per se, ratings did not make a difference. “They may help you in the last mile of a media decision when some of the other factors are equal between two or more channels. The perception of the channel is always more important and the kind of values that you can attribute to a news channel,” she added. Dias elaborated that traits like credibility and relevance were very important when it came to the news genre. She further said, “The thing with news channels now is that the channel is as good as the rating of its last coverage – it is not as if a viewer is coming to watch a particular channel. The viewers do flirt between the available channels, and then in that if you have something that the viewer can get hooked on to, then the numbers come in too.”

In the case of Times Now, the channel has had a positive record to show for the last many weeks. The various events coverage of the channel, too, has garnered good numbers for Times Now.

Ajit Varghese, MD, Maxus India had opined along similar lines as Dias. He, too, believes that even factors like ad rates of a channel are important when it comes to the news genre. He told exchange4media, “This is not like a Hindi general entertainment genre, where there is a significant gap and huge numbers to show. These numbers differ by some points and that does not make much of a difference. There are various other factors, such as the perception of the channel over the last few years based on its accuracy and the relevance of the content that it has shown. Times Now has grown in the last many months, but that said, in television today, for across genres, you have to be on top of things all the time – you never know when the game changes.”

Channel Shares of the last 14 weeks of English News Genre

Source: TAM Media Research

C&S 15+, 1 million plus markets, week 49 to week 10


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.