The latest TAM data has thrown up quite a surprise. TAM data for week 34 (August 16-22, 2009) show TV9 Network catapulted to No. 1 spot in the news television space in the country. The channel share of TV9 Network stood at 0.99 per cent (CS 4+ years, All time) against the Star Network, which was trailing behind at 0.83 per cent. TV Today Network garnered 0.75 per cent channel share, while TV18 Network managed 0.47 per cent. NDTV Network has netted 0.37 per cent channel share.
TV9, promoted by Associate Broadcasting Company, operates a total of seven news channels across the country – TV9 Telugu, TV9 Kannada, TV9 Mumbai, TV9 Gujarati, TV 1, News 9 and Indiavision, a Malayalam news channel. Among the TV9 Network channels, TV9 Telugu garnered 0.36 per cent channel share, while TV9 Kannada netted 0.43 per cent channel share.
Commenting on the channel’s achievement, Ravi Prakash, TV9 CEO and anchor-journalist, said that TV9, promoted by a group of professionals, stood for the values in journalism and fought for the cause of the people instead of getting into the rat race of ‘who gives first’. “We stood with our tagline – ‘For a better society’ – and fought for solutions to the genuine issues and problems faced by the common man. Our viewers identify with our brand as being for them and nurture a feeling of goodwill towards us as we stand by them and raise their issues,” he added.
Incidentally, Prakash was adjudged the ‘Regional Language News Broadcaster of the Year 2009’ at the recently held Airtel Indian News Broadcasting Awards in Delhi.
While several notational brands started their journey from Delhi and Mumbai and are now eying regional markets, TV9 started from the regional market as a 24-hour news channel in Andhra Pradesh in 2004, and is now planning to reach the national platform. According to Prakash, “The strength coming from our extensive regional penetration will help us in having the edge over the present players in the market.”
On being asked from where the audiences were coming for TV9, he said, “India is a vast country with different languages and cultures. Media pundits sitting in Delhi have failed to understand the needs and aspirations of this diversified and unique population. Today, TV9 speaks seven languages and reflects their culture and work for the people in that particular region. Therefore, we can say that our audience is from wherever we speak their language and reflect their aspirations.”
According to Prakash, unlike the news channels supported by the their group GECs and cross media print ownership, who have got into news broadcasting business, TV9 was started and run by the journalists who have combined their journalism skills with smart entrepreneurship. “There is no other business which supports our balance sheet. We have raised funds for our news broadcast business and we need to sustain this and make it work on our own. It’s perform or perish for us and all our 2,500-odd associates,” he added.
Meanwhile, TV9 Network is set to expand its channel bouquet soon with two new additions – TV9 New Delhi (Hindi) and TV9 Chennai.