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Crime shows on news channels: Awareness or overdose?

11-January-2005
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Crime shows on news channels: Awareness or overdose?

Every news channel has at least one, if not more, crime show, daily or weekly slotted for its viewers. The channels claim that these shows garner good viewership numbers. But with so many of them, is there an overdose of crime?

Alka Saxena, Editor, Zee News, said, “The response to these shows are amazing, crime shows get the top ratings across all channels. Data show crime shows are very popular among the female viewers as well. Viewers are more interested in neighbourhood news than national news, unless something very unprecedented like the tsunami or 9/11 happens. People are more concerned about their security and safety in their society.”

The latest TAM data on some crime show that in the Hindi speaking market for CS 15+ shows, that Crime Reporter on Zee News has 0.57, while Vardaat on Aajtak gets 0.67, Sansani on Star News gets 0.8 and Dial 100 on NDTV India gets 0.35.

Aajtak already had the weekly crime show Jurm on air but it then launched the daily Vardaat. Rajesh Sheshadri, Senior Marketing Manager, TV Today, said, “We launched Vardaat because we thought that there was space for another crime show in this slot.”

How do crime shows work? Basabdatta Chowdhuri, General Manager, Madison Media, Delhi, said, “Crime shows have a element of sensationalism about them and they work because they have mass appeal.”

Shazi Zaman, Senior Executive Producer, Star News, said, “The reason why crime shows work is because they address a very basic sense of insecurity and fear that everyone feels. The idea behind the show is not to sensationalize but to make the viewers aware of their surroundings, so that they can take precautions. People watch crime shows because it affects their daily life and those of their loved ones.”

Asked if there is an overdose, Zaman, said, “A good crime show is always news that viewers can use. It makes the viewer feel secure in an insecure environment. The news is relevant to their lives and they can be careful when the see the manner of the crime.”

Are crime shows then going to be a continuing trend? Saxena, said, “I hope people would want to see more of other positive shows rather than more of crime shows.” But many industry insiders feel that while some crime shows will lose out, crime as a genre will keep viewers hooked.

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