From the cluttered market & #BANNER1 & # of news channels, Channel 7 is desperately trying to find a place in the consideration set of viewers.
As Piyush Jain, COO, Channel 7, says, "Whenever there is any major breaking news, viewers generally tend to shift between news channels to get more details. Our immediate objective is to get into this consideration set."
Till date, there are only four Hindi news channels - Aaj Tak, STAR News, Zee News and NDTV India - that belong to this consideration set. These four channels collectively garner around 77 per cent of the viewership in the Hindi news genre. The remaining 23 per cent of the viewership pie is shared between channels such as Channel 7 (6 per cent), Sahara Samay National (6 per cent), India TV (6 per cent), DD News (4 per cent) and Tez (1 per cent) (Source: TAM Media Research, C&S, 15+, HSM, Week 39).
According to Jain, "Channel 7 has shown consistent growth and has managed to inch closer to its target in a short span of six months."
He adds, "We belong to the news-plus category of channels, where, other than hardcore news, we also provide viewers with extra bits of information in the form of various features such as crime-based shows, investigative programmes and a cookery show."
In fact, the channel's synergy with the wide battery of reporters of its print venture, 'Dainik Jagran', seems to have worked well.
Media planners are of the opinion that the channel can further reinforce its position by leveraging this strength.
As Ambika Srivastava, CEO, ZenithOptimedia, says, "It's a crowd among the news channels - all of them look the same and it's difficult to differentiate one from the other. However, there is an opportunity in news to differentiate by adding localised appeal and penetrating much deeper. And with the advantage of 'Dainik Jagran', Channel 7 can present a blend of national and regional appeal."
Debraj Tripathy, general manager, Maxus, Delhi, feels that for Channel 7 to do well, "it need not go deeper into regions for localised content, rather, it should look at local news at a broader level".
He adds, "In terms of awareness, I think people know about the channel and it has also shown potential. But they have to segregate their programming in the right direction."
Kajal Malik, regional director, Optimum Media Solutions (OMS), is of the opinion that Channel 7 entered the market at a time when the Hindi news genre was already cluttered. So, even with the strong backing of a credible newspaper such as 'Dainik Jagran', it has been a challenge for the channel to find a firm footing in the segment.
She continues, "The channel is still among the second-rung channels, and to cross over to the next level, it will have to achieve credible reporting on 3-4 major national events, which will increase the sampling."
According to her, the majority share of the advertising pie is also held by the first four Hindi news channels.
However, lately, Channel 7 has been tom-tomming its coverage of the Ganesh Visarjan, saying it helped it garner a maximum share of 26.8 per cent among the Hindi news channels during that time slot. (TAM Media Research, C&S, Males, 15+, ABC, HSM, week 38, Saturday 1400-1600 hours).
Jain attributes the channel's successful coverage of the event to the fact that it had reporters, not just in Mumbai, but even in Pune, Surat and Delhi. He says, "Our reporters were among the crowds and provided details from places all over India and not just Maharashtra."
The channel is now planning to cover the Durga Puja in Kolkata in a big way. This is also an attempt by it to make inroads in the Kolkata market.
However, media planners are not impressed. They say that a Ganesh Visarjan or Durga Puja is too small an event for a news channel to use to boast a high channel share. According to them, Channel 7's boasts are little more than self-motivation.
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