English general news genre heats up

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | September 24, 2010
TAM Analysis shows that the English general news genre, which hitherto has been ruled by Times Now, is seeing some action

The English general news genre has been following a set ranking since a long time, with Times Now leading the pack with a lion's share of the viewership pie, as per TAM Media Research data. There had always been a tussle for the No. 2 position between CNN-IBN and NDTV 24X7.

In 2009, Times Now enjoyed undisputed leadership, with a majority share of (yearly average) 30 per cent (C&S, 25+, All India, 1 mn+) of the general news channel genre, followed by NDTV 24X7 and CNN-IBN, which commanded relative shares of 23 per cent each. In 2008, however, Times Now and NDTV 24X7 were vying for the No. 1 spot.

The year 2010 saw CNN-IBN gradually expanding its share among the other channels, while NDTV 24X7's share has been declining. Times Now's share of the market has declined over the past few weeks.

From a relative share of 21.4 per cent in January 2010, CNN-IBN's share in July was 23 per cent, while NDTV's share has gone down from 24.3 per cent in January to 20.3 per cent in July. Times Now's share, too, declined from 29.3 per cent to 25.2 per cent.

August saw a major upheaval in the English general news space. In Week 33, CNN-IBN's share increased to 26 per cent, close to the No. 1 player, Times Now, which had garnered 27 per cent share.

Week 34 onwards, however, the rankings gradually changed. CNN-IBN grabbed the No. 1 position with a majority share of 24.4 per cent, followed by NDTV 24X7, which garnered 23.4 per cent share. Times Now slipped to No. 3, garnering 22 per cent relative share in Week 35.

In Week 36, the gap between CNN-IBN and Times Now was 3 percentage points, while in Week 37, the gap broadened to 5 percentage points. As per the latest TAM report (Week 38), CNN-IBN continues to be No. 1 with 29 per cent share of the English news genre, followed by Times Now, which is at No. 2 with 27 per cent share.

While no particular reason could be ascertained for the shuffle in the genre, media analysts believe that a dip in distribution could have led to the drop in viewership of Times Now because for a genre such as this, fluctuations in viewership is not led by programming changes. Neither has there been a big event to which this can be attributed.

NDTV 24X7 is at the No. 3 in the latest week and commands a 20 per cent relative share, followed by Headlines Today, which has garnered a share of 12 per cent. Among other channels, News 9 has garnered a share of 6 per cent, followed by News X and BBC World News, which have garnered relative shares of 3.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

While CNN-IBN has clearly replaced Times Now in the last six weeks, media planners would like to wait for another six weeks before pronouncing a verdict. As of now, it seems that the English news genre is slated to see some action.

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