Headlines Today has been making steady headway in growing its channel share in the English news segment. TAM data show that Headlines Today had a channel share of 19.6 per cent in October, 21.6 per cent in November and 27.9 per cent in December in the six metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) for CS4+. The reach in thousands in six metros in October was 3,603, in November it was 3,663 and in December is 4,180.
Speaking on the channel’s growing numbers, G. Krishnan, CEO, Headlines Today, said, “Headlines Today has a distinct format. The positioning of the channel is “Just news. Crisply Told”. The channel has a clear focus towards the time conscious urban viewer. The core philosophy of the channel is to disseminate maximum information in minimum time. This is achieved by a half an hour wheel, crisply edited stories and multiple tickers. In today’s busy world – people don’t have the time to read the newspaper cover to cover, nor can they sit through endless debates and discussions on various channels. Thus Headlines Today has dovetailed its format to cater to these urbanites. It is a channel for the news seeker not the views seeker.”
Asked why the channel is looking at CS4+ as its target audience, Rajesh Sheshadri, Senior Marketing Manager, TV Today, explained, “The news segment is about 10 per cent of the entire entertainment market share, and English news further comes down to about 10 per cent of the news share. Fragmenting the target group further will only make the universe very small.”
However, even when one looks at the target group CS15+ in the six metros, Headlines Today shows a growing trend: 15 per cent in October, 16.3 per cent in November and 20 per cent in December. The distinct format and presentation of the channel seems to be working for it.
In comparison, NDTV 24x7, the leader among English news channels, had a share of 37.3 per cent share in October as well as November and 39.3 per cent in December for CS4+. In the CS15+ category, the channel’s share in October was 38.75 per cent, in November 38.37 per cent and in December it was 45 per cent.
CNBC and BBC are the other two channels in the English news domain. As per TAM data, in the target group CS 4+ in six metros, BBC World had a channel share of 15.7 per cent in October, 11.8 per cent in November and 9.8 per cent in December. CNBC TV 18 had higher channel shares of 21.6 per cent in October, 23.5 per cent in November and 19.7 per cent in December.
Headlines Today had introduced new marketing initiatives in September which included a six-week brand campaign woven around the theme ‘News. Crisply told’. The campaign had a mix of above-the-line and below-the-line activities, segregated into mass media, online and tie-ups with Barista for in-outlet contests.
Asked whether these marketing initiatives were responsible for the channel’s growing numbers, Sheshadri, said, “Nothing works in isolation, it’s not just marketing, it is also content and distribution. Marketing can just drive people to the channel but its actually editorial content that makes people stay on the channel, it either increases stickiness or gets the same person back.”
Why did it take the channel more than a year to push its marketing initiatives? Headlines Today is just over a year old and the marketing initiatives were introduced only in September this year with Mudra handling their ad campaign. Said Sheshadri, “We first wanted to establish the concept in people’s mind. Before marketing the product, we wanted to put all the fundamentals of the channel together because if we advertised before the product was ready, it would kill the product. With the distribution and the editorial in place, we started with the promotion. The whole objective is to make whatever you do sustainable.”
CVL Srinivas, MD, Maxus, agreed. “There are two reasons for the success of Headlines Today; one, the channel has improved its distribution in the last few months. And second, they deliver news in a crisp and quick format.”
Others agree too. Basabdutta Choudhari, General Manager, Madison Media, Delhi, said, “Headlines Today is doing well because apart from the marketing initiatives that they have undertaken, their distribution has also fallen into place. The distribution initiative has definitely paid off.”
Even peers in another leading news channel conceded that Headlines Today’s increasing channel shares “show that their marketing initiatives have paid off coupled with some improvements in distribution”.
Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media, said, “The market is growing and with more players entering, the shares are bound to get divided.”
One of the top shows on the channel is ‘Headstart’, the breakfast show while the other attraction is ‘The Big Ticket’, which is a round-up of events on and off screen in the world of showbiz. The channel is targeted at working professionals and the packaging is compact and crisp without any detailed analysis.
Sulina Menon, CEO, Carat (North & East) points out, “ The reason for Headlines Today’s success is quite obvious; there is a clutter of Hindi news channels. But as far as English news is concerned, there is only NDTV 24x7 and there is room for a second channel.”
And Headlines Today appears to be making some inroads successfully in this domain. It’s going to be interesting, newsy times in 2005.