Sahara Samay UP is making its mark on Indian television. The channel has registered impressive growth in the year 2004 and in the past months has even managed to claim the top slot in news channels in the UP market. Channel officials explain that one reason behind this is the potential for regional news channels.
To get an indication of the growth that the category has witnessed, let’s take a look at the channel’s share for the target CS ABC 15+ in the UP market. Until week 17, the channel has struggled to keep the share playing in between 0. 46 to 1.49. Until this stage, Aaj Tak clearly dominates the UP scene and Sahara Samay UP doesn’t manage to break its fourth slot. However, the channel registers an increase in share from this period taking it to the second slot in week 19, giving it 2.31 channel share where the leader has 2.74. The following week sees a dip in the share and keeps Sahara Samay UP at a steady third position till week 25, the share again started moving between 1.12 and 2.33.
From week 26 to 34, Sahara Samay UP has claimed four weeks on the top slot and the others in the second. The channel has managed highs like 2.41 and 2.3 in this period and the lowest it registered is 1.49.
Speaking on the channel’s growth graph, Prabhat Dabral, VP, News, Sahara Samay expresses, “This is a result of constant experimenting. When we began, we were focussed completely on disseminating regional news only. However, that didn’t seem to deliver. So, we divided content into 80 per cent regional news and 20 per cent national and international news.”
Dabral believes that the growth the channel is witnessing is a result of various components. Says he, “This is possible only due to the in-depth study of the market, which gives an insight in the market and viewer needs and flexibility in content that caters to these needs.”
Dabral explains that the belief at Sahara is that is time for regional players. “News genre on Indian television is evolving but even in that segment, regional news is shaping into an identity of its own. Unlike regional newspapers, which don’t compete with national papers, regional channels compete with national channels. While that makes the game difficult, a touch on the regional channel chord gives us an advantage,” says Dabral.
While UP is showing growth, markets like Mumbai and MP haven’t managed to keep up in the race. Replying to this, Dabral says, “MP is picking up. There in terms of GRPs we are doing fine. We faced problems there in the difference of viewers in the market itself. However, these problems are now factored in our content and it is showing.”
Is it time for regional players to leave an impression on the Indian news genre? QW Naqvi, News Director, Aaj Tak replies, “Regional players have their own market but they don’t compare or compete with the national players. The reason is simple, the target is different, the treatment and the amount of focus on a news piece would be different and obviously this reflects on the performance of the channel on the whole.”
While Sahara Samay UP has registered growth in this manner, Sahara Samay National in the market, shows a slide in the corresponding weeks. The indication is only of further fragmentation of the news genre. Regional channels might not mean an increase in the news viewership per se, but they can prove to be a more focussed vehicle to reach to specific target audiences in specific markets.