News channels are developing a new primetime. Whether it is the present political conditions or the growing general interest in the economy, the impact on news channels is positive and it can clearly be seen in the morning hours – 7.30 am to 9.00 am. Otherwise not a favourite for planners, this time band has begun to attract their attention and hold.
The cumulative ratings for the six Hindi channels, target CS ABC 15+, in the Hindi speaking market point that news channels are attracting more eyeballs every morning. The beginning of 2004 records as less as 10.5 cumulative channel share for news channels. The upward swing begins week 5 onwards. Though this week sees an exceptional increase giving a cumulative figure of 17.37 and the following weeks record a decline, the lowest that the period till week 10 records is 13.37, in essence giving these five weeks a higher average than the preceding five weeks.
Going forward, week 11 gives news channels an all-time high of 18.27 per cent. The period, hence, till week 18, plays between the 18-plus cumulative percentage and 15-plus, the lowest in the period between week 10 and week 18 is 15.1 per cent. Has this excited the planners? “Definitely,” replies PRP Nair, Vice President, Media Direction, “the morning viewership is emerging as a new prime time for the news genre.”
As to what does he attribute this to, says Nair, “This could be due to the current political conditions, impact of the economic boom and the general interest of people in information and updates.”
Throwing more light on this, Nandini Dias, National Media Director, Interface Communication informs, “The programming at this time band is steadily improving. Now channels are creating new programmes for this slot as opposed to it being a repeat time band until some time ago. Also, many people, especially youngsters are quite happy to see news rather than reading it.”
Does this mean that the increased viewership might eat into readership? “In terms of numbers it doesn’t seem so,” observes Dias, “Many leading newspapers have shown dramatic increase in readership. So this seems more of a multiple media usage and the two medium satisfying different needs. Having said that, leading newspapers are also so busy giving frivolous news that consumers are looking for alternate sources of information now.”
“I see it more as an additional means of media consumption,” adds Nair, “It is difficult to give up newspaper reading habit. I see this as a simultaneous growth.” One point of view that planners assert on is that the morning band is contributing to making news channels an effective buy. Nair elucidates, “The thing with news channels is that it gives you a reach built up over the whole day or week as the audience is not a repetitive one in different time bands. This advantage of news channels is further accentuated with the development of this band. It has beaten the earlier aversion that planners had in buying spots in the morning.”
The morning time band might not be able to capture large number of female viewers. As it is, for news as a genre, male viewership is far higher than females. Hence there are strong chances of it emerging as an important slot for male TG.