Key Media People Movements of 2018

From Viacom 18's Raj Nayak to Hotstar's Ajit Mohan, here is a look at some of the key media announcements of new appointments and departures from the year 2018

exchange4media Staff 4 days ago

Year Ender 2018

As the year 2018 comes to an end, we at exchange4media look at the key people movements that took place in the year across television and OTT industry.

Television Industry

The big news that was announced this month was Raj Nayak leaving Viacom 18 as COO. Known for his creative and business acumen, Nayak steered Viacom18 flagship brand Colors to the leadership position as its CEO for over seven years. With a career spanning over 25 years, Nayak has turned around the fortunes of several media companies in the television industry.

Before joining Viacom18, Nayak formed Aidem Ventures, an independent media consulting and sales & marketing company. Prior to forming his own venture, Nayak was the CEO of NDTV Media Limited for a period of over seven years. He was the founding member of the Star TV Group in India, where he spent close to 10 years.

Another big movement in television industry was that of Karan Bajaj quitting Discovery Communications India in September. Bajaj joined Discovery India in 2016 as head of India and South Asia at Discovery Networks. He passionately led a bold wing to create a new type of purpose driven GE channel in India with Jeet. Prior to this, Bajaj has worked with Kraft Foods Group, The Boston Consulting Group and Procter & Gamble in the past. Bajaj has also written three books such as 'Keep off the Grass’ (fiction), ‘Johnny Gone Down’ (fiction) and ‘The Yoga of Max's Discontent/The Seeker’ (fiction).

Reliance Broadcast Network Limited, one of India's largest network appointed Abraham Thomas as its Chief Executive Officer in October. The industry veteran has leveraged his deep insights into the multi-media platforms to drive and sustain the network's vision of being a leading platform-agnostic radio player. Thomas comes with more than two decades of experience and has a proven track record of propelling businesses across print, radio, TV and digital to newer heights in India, China and South Asia.

On 25 May, 2018, the Board of Balaji Telefilms approved the appointment of Sunil Lulla as Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Lulla brings with himself nearly three decades of experience in media, entertainment, technology and broadcast industry. In the early stages of his career, he was with JWT in various positions. In the 1990s, he was General Manager, MTV India. He had also worked with HMV India in the early 1990s. In 1999-2000, he was CEO of, a global internet venture of Microland. Prior joining Balaji, he was serving as the Chairman and Managing Director in advertising agency Grey Group India.

Joy Chakraborthy, Forbes India CEO and President (Revenue), Network18 Media & Investments, resigned from his post in November. A media veteran, Chakraborthy joined Network18 in May 2016. Before Network 18, Chakraborthy worked with BCCL as Director. He has also worked with TV Today as CEO and Zee Entertainment Enterprises as Executive Director (Revenue).

Ashok Venkatramani, former CEO of ABP News Network, joined Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) as Managing Director in the month of May. Venkatramani brings with him an experience of over 25 years in FMCG and broadcasting sectors. Prior to joining ZMCL, he also worked with ABP for over eight years. He joined ABP in 2008.

OTT Industry

Ajit Mohan who was instrumental in making Hotstar one of India’s leading OTT services, created headlines when he was appointed by Facebook India as Managing Director and Vice President in September. He will join the social media giant early next year. He will be responsible for aligning teams and driving Facebook’s overall strategy in the country.

Former Chief Executive Officer of Voot Gaurav Gandhi quit Viacom18 Digital Ventures in March to join Amazon Prime Video India. Gandhi was with Viacom right from 2010 and initially worked with IndiaCast, the distribution company of TV18 and Viacom18 before moving to Voot.

In May, Tarun Katial joined ZEE5 India, its digital arm, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) as the CEO. He had already taken up additional responsibilities at ZEEL which included TV and digital content production in April 2017 besides heading BIG FM as its COO-CEO, which he had found 12 years ago.

In October, ZEEL roped in Taranjeet Singh for its OTT service ZEE5 India as Chief Revenue Officer and Business Head – New Projects. Prior to this he was already well known in the digital ecosystem as social media platform’s Twitter’s Business Head where he served for more than three years.

Global streaming giant Netflix made headway in India appointing Swati Mohan as Director (Marketing) in May. Mohan's last role was that of Country Head of National Geographic and Fox Networks Group, India since April 2015. Between January 2012 and March 2015 she was spearheading the programming and content portfolio for the bouquet of channels as the Vice President of Content and Programming at Fox International Channels, India.

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Sony Pictures Network India's channels back on Tata Sky

Sony Pictures Networks India’s channels are back on Tata Sky after two months

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


Early October, Direct to Home (DTH) operator Tata Sky removed SPNI's 22 channels along with TV Today Network’s channels which were officially distributed by SPNI.

SPNI spokesperson confirmed the news and said, “Yes, the Sony Pictures Networks channels are back on Tata SKy”

The operator had faced a lot of backlash by its subscribers on social media after removing the broadcaster's channels. Tata Sky requested its subscribers to bear with them and assured that they are committed to working in the interest of its subscribers.

“Commercial negotiations with the broadcasters broke down as what they were seeking would have forced us to hike our prices. Hence we have had to drop a few channels while keeping the popular ones on. We request our subscribers to bear with us, as we are doing this in their best interest,” said Harit Nagpal, CEO & MD of Tata Sky said in October.

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India-Aus series: Third match gets highest viewership of 18.1 million

The first and second matches recorded 14.8 million and 13.3 million impressions, respectively

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


The third match of the ongoing India- Australia cricket series has garnered the highest viewership so far. The November 25 face-off, which was won by India by six wickets, recorded 18.1 million impressions, according to BARC data.

The first and second matches had recorded 14.8 million and 13.3 million impressions, respectively

The matches are being aired on five channels-- Sony Six HD, Sony Six, Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD and DD Sports.  

The series, being telecasted with English and Hindi commentaries on Sony Ten 3, started on November 21, 2018 and will go on till January 18, 2019.

In Week 48 of BARC data, Star Sports First bagged the first slot in the sports genre with 115 million impressions, followed by Sony Ten 3 on the second spot with 110 million impressions and Star Sports 1 Hindi on the third position with 79.0 million impressions. Sony Ten 1 and Sony Six grabbed the fourth and fifth spots with 75.2 and 75.1 million impressions respectively.

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Our future course will be determined more by values than commerce: Sudhanshu Vats

Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman of National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO & MD, Viacom18, delivered the theme address at CII Big Picture Summit 2018

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman of National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO & MD, Viacom18, spoke at CII Big Picture Summit 2018 on Thursday. Vats delivered the theme address on ‘Changing M&E landscape - from convergence to transformation’.

Here’s his full speech:

Namaskar ladies & gentlemen, many thanks for investing your valuable time with us at the CII Big Picture Summit. It is my privilege to host all of you, over today and tomorrow to discuss, debate and deliberate on the rapidly changing media and entertainment landscape in this country.

The first CII Big Picture event I attended was in 2012, I believe it was also the first edition of the event. As a regular learner at these events, I can say with utmost certainty that a lot of the issues we discussed back then – ambitious revenue targets, radio auctions, TV measurement, digitization and so on – a large chunk of it – while still relevant – are in various stages of development today. And that’s only fair – such is the nature of the beast we ride. Also, this trend of convergence and consolidation – the 2 ‘Cs’ – is a universal one – taking place all over the world. That brings me to the theme of this edition of Big Picture – from convergence to transformation.

This is an interesting thought, convergence is a reality – one that is here to stay. It’s being driven by consumer needs and industry’s response to those needs – meaning that it’ll be a long-lasting phenomenon. Transformation is a much bigger – and more daunting – phenomenon. That said, what do we mean by ‘transformation’?  It’s a big word. I’m going to do what my professor at university used to do when we asked her the meaning of a ‘big word’ – throwback two bigger words – MORAL DILEMMAS.

On a serious note, I want to take this precious opportunity to share a point of view that may not make headlines like aggressive industry targets do, but is, in my humble opinion, even more important. 

If you step back and introspect about all that is happening with our industry across the world, you will agree that we are battling several changes - and most of them are a result of moral dilemmas and our response to them. If we can tackle these dilemmas successfully (and defining success is the hardest part), we can believe that we have transformed.

Interestingly, our rich cultural heritage is a treasure trove of insights when it comes to handling moral dilemmas. I recently had a young director from the South approach me with what he called was a ‘modern adaptation of the Mahabharata – told from the perspective of the Kauravas’. It was an interesting thought and we’re testing it - but that’s beside the point. We all know about Dharamraj Yudhishtira and his half-lie – when he told Drona  - on Krishna’s counsel - that Ashvathama is dead. Yudhishtira was referring to an elephant who had died in battle – knowing that Drona would mistake Ashvathama to be his son of the same name. On hearing that ‘Ashvatahama is dead’, Drona put down his arms and was killed by Dhrishtadyumna. Was Yudhishitra right in doing what he did? It’s a debate that divides many till date. 

I gave this example to showcase the greyness of moral dilemmas. Let’s look at our industry and the moral dilemmas we will have to face or are facing – 

  • How do we deal with the power we have? What do we do if we find out that our reach and credibility is being used to influence electoral processes across the world?
  • How do we ensure fairness in the terms of availability of our content to our consumers and parity across distribution platforms? Especially in a foreseeable future when convergence is going to dial up vertical integration across value chains.
  • As consumption moves online, our access to data will increase. In many ways, data will be a competitive advantage and drive advertising revenues and personalized user experiences – what processes do we put in place to ensure it is not misused – how and where do we draw the line differentiating personalization versus privacy?


  • Human resources – our people- are our biggest asset – on screen and off it – how do we react when their individual, personal behaviour questions the fabric of the society we want to create? Think of this especially in light of the recent issues around diversity and inclusion that we’ve experienced. It’s important for everyone, but especially so for our industry.

The list of moral dilemmas is endless. We need to be cognizant of these dilemmas – as organizations, industry bodies, policymakers and governments - as we look to scale up our businesses.

I’ve always been an ardent supporter of data and its importance in driving decision making. In this address, I have not used a single data point – because I believe that the course we take over the next decade will be determined more by these fundamental issues of values and how we tackle moral dilemmas than just commercial considerations. Driving consensus will be difficult yet more important than ever before. This is even more so given that India is today amongst the world’s largest ‘open’ media markets and home to a multitude of players from all over and of all sizes.

Yudhishtira had to spend a day in hell to make up for his half-lie. He was willing to spend a lifetime there to atone for his sins. I’m not sure that we are as brave as him. We must tread carefully, follow our dharma in the toughest of times and be patient. Only then will we have truly transformed.

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MTV's Ryan Mendonca appointed at BANG BANG as Director

His previous stint includes Ogilvy & Mather, where he developed iconic campaigns for Unilever, Cadbury, BCCI and more and rose rapidly to Group Creative Director

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago

ryan mendonca

MTV’s Ryan Mendonca signs with BANG BANG as Director. Armed with over a decade of experience in the world of advertising, Mendonca started his filmmaking career at MTV, where he was National Creative Head until last month, leading the team at MTV and MTV Beats, pushing creative boundaries with branded communications across digital and branded content. Prior to this, he was Group Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather, where he developed iconic campaigns for Unilever, Cadbury, BCCI and more and rose rapidly to Group Creative Director.

His experience has earned him many accolades like Copywriter of the Year and Social Thinker of the Year by The Advertising Club of India. His other laurels include winning at Cannes, The One Show, London International, Spikes Asia, Promax Asia, WARC, Effies (India and Asia), AMEs, Kyoorius, and Young Guns to name a few.

Mendonca says, “Goes without saying I’m excited to be partnering Roopak and the team at BANG BANG. The plan is no different from what it’s been so far– to try and tell big stories, beautifully. Except this time around I’ll be directing them as well. Can’t wait to start.

Roopak Saluja, Founder & Chief Executive Officer – The 120 Media Collective, comments, Sometimes you just know someone's going to make a kick*** Director; they tend to exude a special storytelling ability and a keen eye for detail. I've known Ryan over the years and have always been a fan of his abilities. He's definitely that guy. Watch out world, here comes Ryan Mendonca!”

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Doordarshan launches educational channel DD Roshini

The channel has been launched in partnership with Microsoft and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP).

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


Public broadcaster Doordarshan on Thursday launched an educational channel, DD Roshini, on the DTT platform. The channel was launched by Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

DD Roshini debuts as a pilot on Digital Terrestrial Platform of DD in partnership with Microsoft and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP).

The channel will be available on DD FreeDish, Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV, Big TV, Tata Sky, VideoconD2h and Sun Direct.


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Kabaddi comes home to AP and Telangana on Star Sports 1 Telugu

Superstar Rana Daggubati, the ambassador for VIVO Pro Kabaddi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, features in the new TVC

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


Star Sports has launched Star Sport 1 Telugu, which will offer multiple sporting events in Telugu, starting with the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League. The channel launch is In-line with Star Sports’ commitment to foster a multi-sports culture in the country while bringing fans closer to the sporting ecosystem. Providing live and non-live content, Star Sports 1 Telugu will have onboard, experts, commentators and players building a strong compelling offering for Telugu speaking sports audiences.


Superstar Rana Daggubati, the ambassador for VIVO Pro Kabaddi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana features in the new TVC, where he compares sports to action packed cinema. He draws parallels on the similarities between sports and cinema, emphasizing on the ability each of them possess to capture audience attention always.  


Speaking at the launch of Star Sports 1 Telugu, a Star Sports spokesperson said, “Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are unique markets with a substantial demand for specific language content and have distinct viewing habits, this has helped us at Star Sports understand the pulse of the Telugu sports fan. Star Sports 1 Telugu is a unique product offering catering to core Telugu sports fans in the region and outside. With the launch of Star Sports 1 Telugu, we are exemplifying our endeavor of providing relevant regional sports content to fans across the country. We are committed to constantly strengthen our portfolio across markets, with the growing number of diverse requirements, Star Sports 1 Telugu launch is a key milestone in that journey to curate a compelling offering for fans across regions.”


On the caravan moving to Andhra Pradesh, Anupam Goswami, League Commissioner, VIVO Pro Kabaddi League, said, "The initiative with Star Sports 1 Telugu exemplifies the value created by Star India for sports in the country, with its belief and commitment to take it deep into the lives of fans across India in their own language.   VIVO Pro Kabaddi has been a big gainer owing to the role created by the broadcaster; the launch of Star Sports 1 Telugu will deepen great following that the League has in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.”


Present at the press conference was, Rahul Chaudhari, Telugu Titans – Leading Raider, who said, “Over the past few seasons we have received immense support from fans in the region, they have cheered for Telugu Titans and been there to support us for every match. The affection we receive in the region has been unmatched so far. I thoroughly enjoy watching sports in Hindi, and with this new destination, I am confident Star Sports 1 Telugu will make fans come together to watch their favourite sport in their language, starting with our home games here.”


Star Sports 1 Telugu will feature live and non-live content packaged into a line-up with distinguished Telugu hosts and commentators from the sports fraternity including, Venkatpathy Raju, Venkatesh, Kalyan Krishna and Kaushik Nallan Chakravarthy for Cricket and Madhavi Bhandari, Radhika Reddy and Kalyan Kollaram for Kabaddi. Star Sports 1 Telugu will be available on leading DTH and Cable Operators across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as the rest of India. The channel will be LIVE December 7, 2018 onwards.


Fans can catch the VIVO Pro Kabaddi action LIVE, 7:30 pm onwards, on Star Sports 1 Telugu, the Star Sports Network and Hotstar. Fans can also watch the match live at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Vizag, starting December 7, 2018 onwards.


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Star Plus retains leadership spot in urban market: BARC week 48

Zee Anmol continues to lead both overall and rural market this week

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


Zee Anmol continued to lead the overall market with 873 million impressions, followed by Zee TV on the second slot with 761 million impressions and Star Bharat on the third spot with 734 million impressions, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India Week 48 data.

Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya bagged the first slot with 14.8 million impressions followed by Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya and Kumkum Bhagya on second and third spot with 12.6 million impressions and 12.327 million impressions. Colors’ Naagin-3 slipped to number four from the second slot with 12.325 million impressions. Star Bharat’s Radhakrishn stood at number five with 11.2 million impressions.

Hindi GEC Urban

Star Plus retained its leadership position this week with 507 million impressions followed by Zee TV on the second slot with 468 million impressions and Sony Entertainment Television on the third slot with 432 million impressions. Colors and Star Bharat stood at number four and five with 384 million impressions and 366 million impressions respectively.

Colors’ Naagin 3 continued to dominate the list of top five programmes in the urban market with 8.1 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya bagged the second spot with 8 million impressions followed Sony Entertainment Television’s Indian Idol on third spot with 7.6 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kumkum Bhagya grabbed fourth spot with 7.5 million impressions whereas Star Plus’ Kulfi Kumar Bajewala stood at number five with 7.2 million impressions

Hindi GEC Rural

Zee Anmol continued to lead the rural market with 708 million impressions, followed by Sony Pal on the second spot with 450 million impressions and Star Utsav on the third with 423 million impressions. Star Bharat and Dangal TV stood on the fourth and fifth positions with 368 million and 356 million impressions, respectively.

Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya continued to lead the list of top five programmes with 12.4 million impressions followed by Mahek on the same channel with 8.5 million impressions on second slot and Dangal TV’s Ramayan  stood on three with 7.5 million impressions. Zee Anmol’s Ek Main Aur Ek Tu and Sony Pal’s Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma bagged fourth and fifth spots with 7.15 mn and 7.10 million impressions respectively.


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Rejuvenating Indian television: Looking beyond TRP

Dr. N Bhaskara Rao’s book 'TRP Trick: How Television in India was hijacked' was launched on Tuesday. At the event, experts discuss how TRP is driving TV content today

exchange4media Staff 4 days ago


Chairman of Prasar Bharati Dr. Surya Prakash on Tuesday released a book written by Founder Chairman of CMS Dr. N Bhaskara Rao, ‘TRP Trick: How Television in India was hijacked'. Kiran Karnik, former CEO of Discovery Channel, introduced the book at the event held in New Delhi.

The book release was followed by a panel of esteemed speakers discussing the topic ‘Rejuvenating Indian Television’. The panel comprised Ashok Venkatramani, Managing Director, Zee Media (News); Anuradha Prasad, Chairperson, BAG Network; veteran journalist and Padam Shri Alok Mehta; Sunil Gupta, Secretary, TRAI; and K G Suresh, Director General, IIMC.

Moderating the session was P N Vasanti, Director General, CMS, who brought up the topic of how to make the medium of television more meaningful to our culture and society.  She said, “Compared to television, demand for content is growing higher on video, digital, mobile and YouTube etc. In such times, how are we shifting gears to meet both business and content sides of the TV industry? How can the entire eco-system be made more sensitive to the diverse interest of our audience?”  

Commenting on it, Ashok Venkatramani said, “Today, it’s a conspiracy of convenience where broadcaster, advertiser, regulator all are happy with the status quo. While this is the reality, it isn’t actually a happy situation. I strongly believe that there is space for every single medium in this country. There’s enough headroom for growth, be it television, print or digital. India is a young country with high chances of growth in all domains. I don’t think there’s a need to worry about television being in a bad shape.  The key challenge for TV is about making itself relevant in the changing eco-system today.  Television companies are realising very fast that the news and the way it’s conveyed is crucial, the platform or the medium isn’t.  TRPs are not relevant at all, if companies are really interested in creating brand equity or credibility.”

Anuradha Prasad, Chairperson, BAG Network, shared the manner in which BAG Network managed its business and content. “It is very easy to discern, dissect and condemn but difficult to survive and be the one executing it out all. I started my news channel with the tagline ‘news is back’. I promised myself that I’d remain true to my journalism ethics that taught me to show news and not TRP-favouring shows. But then, the ratings came as -4. I then spoke to authorities at TAM and I was told that I must telecast shows of a certain kind in order to get high TRPs. I wasn’t in agreement with what I was told,” she said.

“But even then I survived. And it was only because of the passion, commitment and cause. You decide come what may, I would stick to my ethics. I wish there’s a competition to TAM and BARC, but sadly there’s none. I wish we had set up distribution platforms earlier. If TRAI today announces that there will be no TRP in India, you will see how the content paradigm will shift,” Prasad said.

Adding to the argument, Alok Mehta, said, “It’s crucial to build an eco-system that goes beyond this number-driven practice and is more of citizen-committee driven. Everyone is watching television. What the industry needs to work on is to make sure that media gets to be self-disciplined. Hence I request all media organisations and media schools to make this book a part of their curriculum. The issue with TRPs needs to be resolved.”

Explaining the purpose of the consultation paper issued by TRAI on Monday & the authority’s vision for the broadcasting sector in India, Sunil Gupta, said, “When private channels started increasing their operations in India, the primary focus shifted from educating people to making as much money as you want through this business. The mindset of broadcasters and other stakeholders has not changed and customers are not ready to choose from the price options available. When Hindi-speaking viewers are watching an English channel and you count those Hindi viewers as your audience, you as an English channel are modifying the TRPs, which is wrong. While this is happening at a huge scale, the question is who is to be blamed for this. Again, world over, the concept of impression is being adopted to see what is the weightage of a channel. We are fully aware of the incidences of tampering and influences happening around. Once industry reforms and consumers have choices, TRP ratings will not be of consequence any longer.”

Discussing the future of the television medium in our society, K G Suresh, Director General, IIMC, said, “In media, I think we are not sure, whether we are a leader or a follower. If I am a leader, I will have to develop a niche, I cannot be following the mob. The concept of TRP goes for a toss here itself. In a country like India, we can surely develop a taste for good content.  I don’t think the domain of market research in our industry has been discovered entirely before planning the programming. Good content alone can give you audience. Here TRP does not come into the picture. Today, on social media, people are going to rate you and also demolish you if you don’t present good content. It’s social media that is driving news agenda today and not television. Topics that go viral on social media end up becoming the 9 pm debate subjects.”


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Lokmat to come up with Hindi channel next year

Punya Prasun Bajpai could be the face of the channel, say highly placed sources

Abhishek Mehrotra 4 days ago


Marathi media group Lokmat is all set to launch a Hindi news channel next year.

It has been learnt that the preparations for the launch are in the final stages. Highly placed sources have also confirmed that senior journalist Punya Prasun Bajpai, whose recent resignation from ABP News caused quite a stir, could be the face of the channel. Bajpai has worked with Lokmat before also.

Lokmat along with Network18 is already running a Marathi news channel.

This is so far the third channel that would be launched in 2019. The other two being Republic Bharat and TV9.

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ICC Women’s World T20: India v/s Australia match garners 2.4 mn impressions

The series was aired across five sports channels of Star India which began on November 9

exchange4media Staff 5 days ago


The India v/s Australia match of ICC Women’s World T20 garnered 2.4 million impressions in week 47 of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India data.

The series started from November 9 and was telecast on Star India’s sports channels including Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD and Star Sports Tamil 1.

In week 47, Sony Ten 3 leads the sports genre with 141 million impressions followed by Star Sports First in the second position with 119 million impressions and Sony Ten 1 on third with 117 million impressions. Sony Six and Star Sports 1Hindi bagged the fourth and fifth spots with 112 and 90.7 million impressions.

The tournament was scheduled to be held between 9 and 24 November 2018 in three venues in the Caribbean - Guyana, Antigua, and St Lucia.

The ten participating teams are Australia, England, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, and Ireland.


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