Pritha Mitra

Media planners aren’t amused by STAR News’ leadership claims

TAM figures indicate that in Week 39 of 2005, the channel managed a share of 25 per cent among Hindi news channels, overtaking the market leader, Aaj Tak, which attained a share of 22 per cent

STAR News is tom-tomming its leadership among the Hindi news channels. As per TAM Media Research (C&S, 15+, HSM), in Week 39 of 2005 (September 18-24), STAR News emerged as the number one channel in its segment, with a market share of 25 per cent.

In the same week, Aaj Tak managed a share of 22 per cent, followed by Zee News and NDTV India, with a share of 16 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. The remaining 23 per cent viewership was shared between Sahara Samay, Channel 7, India TV, DD News and Tez.

An enthused Uday Shankar, CEO and editor, STAR News, says, “Our efforts have always been to do meaningful stories and add new flavours to the existing line-up of programmes, and this has actually paid off for us.”

He adds, “For STAR News, the biggest incentive is acceptance by the viewers, who are usually so resilient.”

However, media planners don’t seem to be so impressed with STAR News’ leadership claims.

As Divya Radhakrishnan, vice-president, The Media Edge (TME), says, “Channel shares for news channels keep fluctuating every week. Before drawing a conclusion, one needs to check the trend for a few more weeks.”

Other senior media planners such as Shashi Sinha, president, Lodestar Media, concur with Radhakrishnan of TME. However, Sinha is also of the opinion that the coverage of the Mumbai deluge by STAR News has been a big differentiator for it.

Sinha says, “The way STAR News covered the Mumbai floods on July 26 has been the turning point for the channel.”

Basabdutta Chowdhuri, COO, Madison Media Plus, agrees and says, “Being a Mumbai-based channel, STAR News had the advantage of being the first to put the Mumbai rains live on air. Since then, they have been close to the market leader. However, it’s not justified to calculate the channel’s success based on just a week’s tabulation.”

Kajal Malik, regional director, Optimum Media Solutions, explains the factors that contributed to the viewership growth for STAR News during Week 39. “During this week, STAR News reported the sensational incident that took place in a temple in Faridabad near Delhi, while the other channels focused on the Sourav Ganguly-Greg Chappell controversy, which became a little mundane.”

“The Faridabad temple news was quite sensational and had suspense and drama. And in the absence of any other major national news, STAR News had an edge over the others,” says Malik.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!