Osama drama scores high for news channels

Developments around the world and in India over the last few weeks have kept news channels busy. Osama Bin Laden’s killing kept the numbers coming in week 19. Other developments that added numbers in preceding weeks were Sathya Sai Baba passing away and the Royal Wedding...

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: May 12, 2011 8:52 AM
Osama drama scores high for news channels

The last few weeks have given news channels enough to be busy and attract viewer attention. Between international developments such as Osama Bin Laden declared dead and the British royal wedding to national news such as Sathya Sai Baba passing away, have significantly added to news viewership.

After World Cup, news channels devoted high coverage to Osama
Data from News Content Track (NCT), an analytical tool by TAM Media Research, shows that news channels had dedicated a large duration of their coverage to Osama Bin Laden’s death news. In fact, in week 19, (ending May 7, 2011), which is the latest TAM week, almost 40 per cent of all news coverage, across key channels from the news genre, both Hindi and English, was on Bin Laden’s death with international footage. Another 4 per cent were reports with Indian analysis and reactions. Simply put, 44 per cent content, across new channels in week 19, was on Osama Bin Laden. Another 7 per cent of content in the week was on the Indian Premier League.

In the last nine weeks, the only thing that has seen more attention from news channels was the ICC Cricket World Cup, wherein week 14, 67 per cent duration of all news coverage was on the World Cup semis and finals.

News developments such as Sathya Sai Baba passing away and reports on the British royal wedding had seen 14 per cent and 13 per cent of news time spent on covering these events. Both events took place in week 18.

NCT includes monitoring of channels Aaj Tak, CNN IBN, Headlines Today, IBN7, India TV, NDTV 24/7, NDTV India, Star News, Times Now and Zee News.

Viewership growth for news channels in the week
Week 19 has seen growth in news genre viewership as well. According to TAM Media Research, the genre viewership of all new channels jumped to 10.15 per cent in week 19. Week 18 was not too far behind with a combined viewership of 10.4 per cent. The genre otherwise fluctuates between 8+ per cent and 9+ per cent.

The only other week in recent times that had seen a higher viewership was week 15, when ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 had concluded. Reports on Lokpal bill were also aired in week 15. It should be noted that as per NCT, news channels had dedicated only 7 per cent of their total coverage to Lokpal bill; 32 per cent of their coverage was on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 culmination.

TAM Media Research data also shows that for the TG C&S 15+ in the Hindi speaking markets, Osama Bin Laden news led to a change in the stacking order in the Hindi news genre. India TV managed to continue its lead on Aaj Tak for the fourth week in a row, and widened the gap from other channels. But Star News turned out to be the second most watched channel in the week, followed by Aaj Tak.

In the English news genre, Osama Bin Laden coverage allowed Times Now to get back into the number one slot, which it has been losing on and off to CNN IBN. In fact, the preceding three weeks (16, 17 & 18) CNN IBN was ahead of Times Now in the all day numbers for the TG C&S 25+ in the 1 million plus markets, including metros.

A senior media observer remarked, “News channels had quite a bit on their plate and the Osama Bin Laden news is the kind of development that would interest audiences in India too. Everyone had an opinion on it. But the bigger picture here really is about how the media environment is constantly giving something for newsrooms to be busy both with international and national news.”

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