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Genre check: Mumbai terror attacks throw record ratings for English news channels

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Genre check: Mumbai terror attacks throw record ratings for English news channels

Not that any channel would like to go to town with its performance of the coverage of last week’s Mumbai terror attacks, given the sensitivity of the issue, but data shows that news channels have registered an unprecedented viewership score last week. The English news genre is no different. TAM Media Research numbers put the Mumbai terror attacks coverage as the single most viewed telecast of the year. Given the scale of the tragedy, however, the ratings don’t really come as a surprise.

For the target C&S 15+ in the one million plus markets, NDTV 24x7 was the most viewed channel in the Mumbai terror attacks week, followed by Times Now. CNN-IBN was the third watched. Headlines Today and NewsX have a similar share in week 48. The trends are slightly different in the C&S Male 25+ audience for the one million plus markets. Though very marginally, Times Now leads in this TG in the week 48. The gap between Headlines Today and NewsX increases in this target, in the favour of Headlines Today.

The English news genre has seen a very intense battle between NDTV 24x7 and Times Now in 2008. Different weeks have shown different leaders, but Times Now has seen a slightly larger share of leadership weeks than NDTV 24x7 this year. In events such as the Anti-Trust Vote coverage, Times Now had scored much higher than any other channel, and kept its share high in the following weeks.

Times Now has been a strong channel for the male target audience, especially in the second half of 2008. The channel has been the most viewed for a consistent and significant period of time.

With the exception of a few weeks, where CNN-IBN picked up in its viewership, the channel has largely maintained the No. 3 slot in the genre.

Newcomer NewsX and Headlines Today have been competing very closely with each other ever since the launch of NewsX.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Harish Shriyan, Joint MD, OMD India, said that the numbers of news channels were in any case very small for the absolute channel shares to make any significant difference. “The perception of the channel, and the cost per ratings points (CPRPs), were the ultimate deciding factors,” he added.

On various platforms, industry veterans like Lintas Media Group’s CEO and Chairperson Lynn de Souza and Lodestar CEO Shashi Sinha have been quoted on the same point. This, however, has never played a role in dousing the ratings war that news channels prefer to be engaged in.


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