Sapna Nair

STAR News: Make way for the leader

STAR News has beaten its close competitor, Aaj Tak, by a significant margin once again. This trend has been occurring for over three weeks now

STAR News has consolidated its strong position in the news channel genre yet again by racing far ahead of its close competitor, Aaj Tak, and sweeping away the number one spot. The TAM Media Research figures (week 41 C&S, 15+, Hindi speaking markets) substantiate its position.

With a channel share of 20.13 per cent, it has beaten close competitor Aaj Tak for the second consecutive time. Aaj Tak managed a channel share of 18.87 per cent this time. As reported earlier by agencyfaqs!, the battle between the two started heating up from Week 39 onwards, when STAR News managed to grab a channel share of 19.3 per cent, almost equivalent to Aaj Tak’s 19.6 per cent. The week after that (Week 40), STAR News beat Aaj Tak by grabbing a share of 20.3 per cent as against 16.4 per cent for Aaj Tak.

In week 41, NDTV India and Zee News got a channel share of 13.21 per cent each, India TV managed a channel share of 9.43 per cent, and IBN 7 got a 7.55 per cent share. Sahara Samay, with a channel share of 5.66 per cent, came sixth followed by Tez, which got a share of 5.03 per cent. DD News grabbed a share of 4.40 per cent, followed by Janmat, which got a channel share of 2.52 per cent.

Despite the whopping channel share that STAR News has garnered, media analysts still feel that the scenario has just got interesting and that there’s a lot more in store. Ajit Varghese, MD designate, Maxus India, says, “The news genre is going to heat up now that the news channels are beginning to realise that the viewer is king.”

Varghese discounts the possibility of STAR News emerging as the leader in the Hindi news channel space. He says that there will be a new trend on each new day. “To say that one channel has complete dominance over the others wouldn’t be right,” he explains.

According to him, Aaj Tak’s dominance was seen in two areas – penetration and channel share. But now, as all news channels are free to air, the difference has lowered and there’s stiff competition in terms of channel shares, too.

Divya Radhakrishnan, vice-president, The Media Edge, agrees. “The top positions in this genre keep fluctuating. It all depends upon who’s got the big story and the sensational news,” she says. Radhakrishnan is of the opinion that two-three weeks is too short a time period to crown a winner. “If STAR News sustains its performance for 13 weeks, then it will be a significant achievement,” she adds.

Another senior media planner points out that, initially, only Aaj Tak was considered to be a mass appeal channel, while STAR News and NDTV India fell in the ‘classes’ slot. This scenario is gradually changing as STAR News is getting considerable viewership among the masses as well.

STAR News has been actively promoting its properties, whether on the STAR Network, in print or on radio. Some speculate that this could also have led to greater viewership for the channel.

Media planners are optimistic about the competition as the channels will constantly try to beat each other while trying to better cater to the viewers’ tastes. And this, they say, will open good options for the advertisers.

So there’s still time before STAR News gets a standing ovation for its newly acquired ‘leader’ position. But if industry predictions are to be believed, then the battle has just begun. Watch this space for more news.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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