Indian media agency heads have said on more than one occasion that ratings do not matter much for genres such as English news. One reason is that the numbers are too minuscule, secondly, the perception of a channel is more important, apart from the cost efficiencies, essentially meaning the channel ad rates.
However, an industry report card is always important, to the players, and to the stakeholders.
Times Now, the English general news channels from Times Global Broadcasting Ltd, would remember 2008 as a good year. The channel has managed to deliver good numbers in the coverage of some of the key events in the year – from the Anti-Trust vote to the Mumbai strikes and finally the terror attacks.
In the C&S AB 15+ target group, the year began on a good note for the channel, but NDTV 24x7 didn’t let it remain like that for long. The competition was very stiff in the first half of 2008, with NDTV 24x7 looking good. Come week 29 or mid-2008 and the scenario changed. Times Now dominated the graphs substantially and the competition was even closer.
The year was a trying one for CNN-IBN, where the channel had largely been on the number three position. However, CNN-IBN closed some distance towards the year-end. The channel caught up enough to interfere in the Times Now-NDTV 24x7 battle by this time. In some of the final weeks, the channel even managed a number two slot, beating NDTV 24x7, the otherwise traditional leader of the genre.
Newcomer NewsX was still on the bottom of the rung. The channel did give Headlines Today some reasons to be worried about, but in the current state Headlines Today still plays in a ‘respectable’ number four position.
Times Now’s scores improve significantly in the core male target audience that many advertisers use this genre for. However, in the broader TG, NDTV 24x7 still has its standing. Times Global officials have been quoted on various occasions as saying that the objective in 2009 is to be the ‘undisputed’ leader across all parameters in the genre.
How the trends develop in 2009, when the new TAM panel ratings kick in, would be an interesting watch.
Overview 2008: With increased competition, Marathi GECs need to shed ‘me too’ image