The recent round of programming initiatives and restructured news coverage beginning first week of August have paid off for Zee News as the channel regains the top slot in the Hindi news genre, beating arch rival Aaj Tak. As per the latest TAM data for the week ending September 18, the figures for the all-India C&S 4+ show that the average time-spend on Zee News is 30 minutes, which is 15 per cent above Aaj Tak’s 26 minutes, while it is 24 minutes for NDTV India.
Going by the percentage figures of channel shares in Delhi C&S 4+, Zee News leads with 30 per cent, while Aaj Tak stands at 28 per cent followed by NDTV India at 24 per cent and four per cent share for Star News. Taking into account all the four metros, the share of Zee News dips to 22.9 per cent, equalising Aaj Tak’s. Here NDTV India claims 20.4 per cent share in the C&S 4+ category.
However, Zee News’ claim of being the hottest among the Hindi news channels, is reinforced by the fact that four out of the top 10 programmes in the news genre are from its stable (TAM week ending September 18, All India, C&S Ind 4+). The weekly feature ‘Crime File’ tops the demand list with a rating of 0.65; ‘Din-bhar’ follows with 0.41; while ‘Crime Reporter’ and ‘Prime Time’ have ratings of 0.39 and 0.38 respectively.
An official release from the news channel, containing the TAM figures, quoted Laxmi Goyal, Director, News Group, Zee Telefilms, as saying, “The resurgence in Zee News’ ratings and viewership are a result of dogged pursuit of ‘Haqeeqat’ and continuous focus on differentiating content.”
Among recent news coverage that claimed a difference with the others are ‘Venus Transit – Shukra Hai Suraj Hai’ and the exclusive reporting of the Mastygandha train accident. Zee News claims it was the only channel to reach the accident site hours before others. The breaking news and continuous coverage of the Kumbhkonam tragedy, the nationwide debate on the death sentence of Dhananjay in Kolkata and the exclusive inside story on call girl rackets in Delhi are among the milestones to which Zee News attributes its success.
Observed Basabdutta Chowdhri of Madison Delhi, “News is all about credibility and content. We consider the environment as a very critical factor especially when it comes to breaking news. When it comes to media planning for news channels, we look at both the reach and the environment.”
On a slightly different note, and taking an analyst’s stand, Sulina Menon of Carat cautions, “Ratings are always dynamic. Zee is driven by content and look but they will have to sustain it. A week’s ratings can be a freak.”
The question is: will it be a roller coaster ride once the next TAM data are released?