Monsoon coverage is one of the many challenges that news channels face and use for getting more eyeballs. Of what has been seen so far, STAR News seems to have scored some numbers. In the past two weeks, the channel has taken the No. 1 slot in the genre. Nonetheless, media experts are clear that two weeks isn’t a show of any change in the competitive dynamics of a genre.
Beginning with data again, TAM Media Research shows that STAR News’ channel shares are higher than that of Aaj Tak in the Hindi speaking markets for the C&S 15+ in week 24 and 25, and was very close in week 23 (STAR News is at 1.43 share and Aaj Tak at 1.44). In the three weeks before that, Aaj Tak has been the leader with a considerable distance, and STAR News and India TV battle it out for the second position.
On the onset, media experts are clear that two weeks is a very small number to make a difference to their plans, and that an optimum period would be 8-10 weeks. That said, some agencies also do set aside a certain portion of the media spends to invest in last minute blips in genres as dynamic as news genre.
Needless to say that Media Content and Communications Services India Pvt Ltd’s (MCCS) officials are encouraged with the development. In a prepared statement, Barun Das, Vice-President, MCCS, was quoted as saying, “The consistent upward trend of STAR News and STAR Ananda, along with the viewers’ positive feedback to the recently launched STAR Majha, encourages us to believe that we are on the right track. The ratings are an endorsement of our viewers’ faith in us and we thank them for their continuous support and encouragement.”
On being quested on the development, Divya Radhakrishnan, Vice-President, TME, said, “News channels are too dynamic and blips like these happen – this is not the first time that STAR News has had two weeks of the top slot in a row, and they have scored in monsoon coverage before this as well. However, in a news channel unless there are consistent deliveries, you really don’t begin to change plans.”
“It is true that two weeks can be the beginning of eight or more weeks, and give birth to new trends, but it is that eight weeks and new trends that I would be more interested in,” added Radhakrishnan.
Giving another angle to the discussion, R Gowthaman, MD, MindShare, South and West, said, “We plan for at least four weeks in advance on data that is one week old. So, it is very difficult to expect things like these at that point in time. However, we keep certain amount of the media spends for pure implementation purposes and these developments do trigger us to invest accordingly, but right now most channels are largely covering the monsoons, and you have to be very selective when you are investing in ‘unpleasant’ news.”
Two weeks is too small a period to make a significant change in any plan. If past trends are anything to go by, people would not be quick to bet on this trend of STAR News reign continuing in the coming weeks as well. The watch really is whether STAR News would be able to continue these top numbers.