Blood and gore seem to be hot favourites among television viewers these days.
The trend of telecasting crime shows, originally pioneered by NDTV news channels, is now being followed by the rest. Today, every news channel in the country - be it ZEE, Aaj Tak or Star News - has a crime-based show.
The basic genre of the show remains the same across all channels, and incidents of crime are reported in a dramatised format. However, with no scarcity of crime incidents in the country, the content varies from one channel to the other.
Apart from basic reporting on crime, each channel has introduced some additional elements which differentiates it from the others.
For instance, the daily programme on ZEE News - Crime Reporter - has a helpline segment, where viewers can call in at a certain number and talk about incidents of harassments by cops. Likewise, the weekly programmes on ZEE News - Crime File - also talks about the wanted criminals in the segment - Talaash Hain.
The weekly crime show on Aaj Tak called Jurm has a segment - Insaaf Kab Tak - where it talks about a major incident of crime, which has been waiting justice for years.
Sahara Samay Rashtriya Similarly has a different take on the subject. Its programme, Chargesheet, has a section on missing people and it also reports about crimes that remain unreported by the administration.
The interesting point is that irrespective of the content and the channel, crime-based shows are increasingly getting popular among viewers. As per a study done by Lodestar Media, crime shows are as popular as political, social and cricket news.
L S Krishnan of BroadMind says, "Viewers have always been interested in suspense, thriller and investigating content - be it in movies, or in television programmes. This is proved from the fact that serials such as CID and Crime Patrol on Sony Entertainment Television are so popular."
Arpita Menon, general manager, Lodestar Media concurs: "It's a basic human element that people like vicarious thrill. This is probably why people like reading crime stories, even while reading newspapers," she says.
But how important are crime-based shows for the news channels? When agencyfaqs! spoke to a couple of media planners, they were of the opinion that if not revenues, (because most of the advertisers are reluctant in being associated with a crime show), it certainly means eyeballs for the channels. And by getting eyeballs, half of their mission is fulfilled.
This statement is equally supported by the viewership ratings. As per TAM Media Research ( C&S Homes, 15+, Hindi speaking Markets), in the last two months June and July, the pioneer of crime based shows FIR on NDTV India got a GRP of 12.62. Jurm on Aaj Tak follows next with a GRP of 8.80.
TAM statistics suggest that crime-based shows are equally popular across all sections. This is why the programme Crime and the City on English news channel NDTV 24X7 managed a GRP of 7.11.
Even ZEE's Crime File managed a GRP of 5.93 followed by Red Alert on Star News, which got GRP of 4.37.
As a matter of fact, news channels hadn't anticipated such popularity when these shows were launched. For most of the channels, it all started as a strategy to fill up the programming schedule with shows other than news.
As Menon of Lodestar says, "Viewers watching news channels tend to move away, if the news item doesn't interest them. With programmes like Crime shows, news channels have been successful in making the viewers stick to the channel and thus create a loyal viewership base."
© 2004 agencyfaqs!