So what if a section of the Mumbai film industry is crying foul? India TV's sting operations have paid off big-time for the channel.
As per TAM Media Research data, (C&S, 15 +, Hindi speaking markets), in week 12, when the news channel aired the sting operations on Bollywood actors Shakti Kapoor and Aman Verma, around 1.5 million new viewers visited India TV. That week, the reach of the channel was 9.9 million viewers. A week ago (week 11), India TV had 8.4 million viewers. The channel market share also grew to 11.5 per cent during the week 12 from 6.7 per cent in week 11.
To be more precise, on March 13, the day when the Shakti Kapoor episode was aired, the channel share of India TV went up to as high as 22.4 per cent from 7.5 per cent on March 6, the previous Sunday. Market leader Aaj Tak's channel share was the most affected as it went down to 20.2 per cent on March 13 from 30.1 per cent on March 6.
Other channels such as STAR News, ZEE News, DD News and Sahara Samay Rashtriya also saw their market share declining marginally. While STAR News' share declined to 14 per cent on March 13 from 16.3 per cent on March 6, ZEE News managed a channel share of 13.4 per cent on that Sunday from 16.3 per cent of the previous Sunday.
The only channel which remained unaffected was NDTV India, which, in spite of this viewership shift, grew marginally to 18 per cent from 17.6 per cent in the previous week.
LS Krishnan, head, Matrix, clarifies the reason behind this. He says, while Aaj Tak is positioned as a news-oriented channel, NDTV India's positioning is that of feature-based and analytical news channel. This is probably why viewers may have moved on from Aaj Tak to India TV during this particular day.
The growth in viewership is certainly very encouraging from India TV's perspective, but media planners consider this trend to be a short-term gain for the channel rather than a prolonged one.
Sandip Tarkas, chief executive, Media Direction, says, "Since India TV is a new channel, the current growth in viewership is certainly a positive trend as it may have increased the sampling opportunity. But the biggest challenge will be to retain this viewership base. And if the channel is successful in retaining half of the new viewers, its mission is accomplished."
He cites the example of how the viewership of ZEE News saw a great jump during Gudiya story to later stabilise at its original viewership base.
Hiren Pandit, general manager, MindShare Mumbai agrees. He says, "In the following weeks, India TV's market share will probably come down and stabilise at around 8 per cent from the current 11.5 per cent. And if this happens, the channel will certainly be in a gaining position.
He adds, "It's ultimately the quality of news coverage and content, which will help the channel in having a loyal viewership base. For this kind of sensational news or shows, people do come to the channel, but also move out after their curiosity is fulfilled."
This is also probably the reason why Rajat Sharma, head - India TV, does not want to position India TV as a 'sensational' channel. He doesn't agree that only sting operations have contributed to India TV's growth.
Sharma says, "Every new channel requires a certain period of time to invite viewers. And our case is no different. For the last couple of weeks, our viewership has been growing constantly."
He adds, "People in the industry believe that the key to success for India TV has been sensational journalism. But as a matter of fact, there are shows such as Aap Ki Adalaat, which has been immensely popular without even being close to sensational."
Sharma's claim is on the basis of TAM data, which indicates that on March 12, between 9 pm and 9.50 pm, when Aap Ki Adalat (with Swami Ramdev) was aired, the channel share of India TV was 36 per cent - ahead of Aaj Tak, STAR News, NDTV and ZEE News.
According to Pandit of MindShare, "Aap Ki Adalat is one of the few consistently popular shows on India TV. To be a market leader, the channel needs to have a whole host of such programmes."
Krishnan of Matrix offers a piece of advice. He says, "If the channel had planned this investigative story in advance, they should have strategically launched a couple of news shows or promoted their existing popular programmes during the week to retain the viewership base."
Regarding advertising opportunities on this channel, while the current viewership trend has certainly increased the interest level among media planners, most would like to wait for a few more weeks to increase their advertising spends on the channel.
© 2005 agencyfaqs!