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News channel register ratings dip in last week of 2003, DD News slips further

07-January-2004
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News channel register ratings dip in last week of 2003, DD News slips further

A year-end implies various highs and lows, but for news channels, the end of 2003 spelt bad news. The 52nd week of 2003 (Dec 20 to 27) reflects a fall for this niche. The phase was bad for all news channels. However, for different reasons, it proved more so for Headlines Today and DD News.

The ratings in the period between November 30 and December 27 indicate that news channels have witnessed anything but a glorious year-end. The figures drawn for these four weeks give a zigzag graph with a fall in the 52nd week. To understand these ratings better and what they imply, let’s look at all the news channels.

Brining the Hindi news channels on the stand first, TG - C&S 15+ ABC, markets - all. Aaj Tak did remain at the top slot but where it had 1.91 percent channel share in week 49, the share dropped to 1.42 in week 50. In the following week, it increased only to drop again to 1.39 percent in week 52.

Except for week 50, Star News occupies a second place among Hindi News channels. However, where it garnered 1 percent channel share in week 49, the ratings dipped to 0.85 in week 51 and 0.75 in week 52. Similar is the case with NDTV India and DD News, where week 49 and 51 scored more than week 50 and 52. In week 51, the channels grossed a 0.72 and 0.71 respectively, garnering 0.78 and 0.79 in week 51, ending the year with 0.65 and 0.73. Zee News and Sahara Samay too experience similar declines.

The sore point for all Hindi news channels perhaps is that even in week 51 when the share had increased from the previous week, it was not as good as week 49. What further sours the deal for DD News is that, the channel’s ratings, which were growing at a steady pace, are now slipping.

Looking at DD News alone, let us consider the same target in the Hindi Speaking market. From its inception (week 45) to week 49, the channel recorded a steady increase in ratings, moving from 0.66 percent to 1.12 percent. For this market, in week 50 it slipped to 0.93, coming up to 0.99 in week 51 and dropping again to 0.85 in week 52. These ratings give it a clear decline in the year ending weeks. Whether the novelty factor of the channel is wearing off or whether it is temporary ebb, would be known in the next four weeks.

Going back to all markets, let’s now take into consideration the English news channels. The graphs again zigzag, with the exception of Headlines Today and CNN, which join other channels in the drop of week 52.

Ratings wise, NDTV 24x7 holds the top spot here. The channel holds a 0.22 per cent in week 49 and 51. In week 50, the channel share drops to 0.19, which is still higher than the share in week 52, which is 0.17 percent.

CNBC TV-18 and BBC World both record 0.02 fall in week 50 taking the respective ratings to 0.1 and 0.07 in this week. Both channels rise to 0.15 in week 51 and drop to 0.13 and 0.1 in week 52, respectively.

CNN and Headlines Today have similar graphs. The channels don’t witness a fall in their share in week 50. Both channels hold on to their respective 0.02 and 0.04 percent. The graphs coincide in the following two weeks when both register a share of 0.05 percent in week 51 and then fall to 0.04 in week 52.

The reason why this dip is especially bad for Headlines Today is that the channel has incorporated its much-spoken-about changes on December 21. The ratings should have ideally reflected this in some manner and a dip definitely is not desirable.

So in the first week, the changed Headlines Today did not register the result it would have expected. However, there are other factors too that play a role. Apart from the fact that this is a fall phase for the niche itself, the channel has as yet not promoted the new look. These promotions will be made only after about three weeks. Hence, in about four weeks’ time, one should be able to make out how the new-look Headlines Today delivers in the ratings race.

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