Alokananda Chakraborty & Prajjal Saha

AXN's 'Hot and Wild' turns up the heat in English programme viewership

AXN’s post-11.00 pm time band ‘Hot and Wild’ has started making a sizeable difference to the viewership of English general entertainment channels

Relatively speaking, the viewership of English general entertainment channels may be insignificant. All the same, in the late-evening-to-midnight time slot, these channels do have their share of loyal viewership, particularly in the late night, after 11.00 pm segment. As per TAM Media Research, the viewership of English channels is at its highest between 8.00 pm and 12.00 midnight, with 41 per cent of their total daily viewership occurring in this four-hour time band. "The maximum viewership of English channels happens in this time slot - especially after 11.00 pm - as these channels are basically male- and youth-oriented, and it is only after 11.00 pm that the target audience gets control of the remote (a direct fallout of single TV homes)," explains Anita Nayyar, managing director, north and east, Starcom. She also adds that most male viewers tend to stick to news channels during prime time, which also results in these English channels drawing attention only later in the night.

Once upon a time, the high point of late night viewership of English programmes was Grind (on MTV). However, of late, AXN's post-11.00 pm time band ‘Hot and Wild' has started making a sizeable difference to English-channel viewership. Shows such as ‘30 Seconds To Fame' and ‘Wild On' enjoy the maximum viewership among all English programmes, with TVRs of 0.42 and 0.41 (as per TAM Media Research), respectively. In fact, AXN leads the list as the most popular English general entertainment channel. As per TAM (C&S audience, four years and above), in the last four weeks ending May 8, AXN has a share of 67 per cent of the total viewership of English general entertainment channels, followed by STAR World (with a channel share of 22 per cent) and Zee English (10.5 per cent). Some of the other popular programmes from these channels are ‘X-Files' (STAR World) and ‘Caroline in the City' (ZEE English), with TVRs of 0.25 and 0.24, respectively. Following these are ‘Will & Grace' (ZEE English) and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful' (STAR World), with TVRs of 0.17 and 0.15, respectively.

Surprisingly, AXN also tops the list of all English channels (movie and general entertainment channels combined). As per TAM (C&S homes, SEC A&B, AA15-44AB), in the time band between 9.00 pm and 12 midnight, last week's figures showed AXN taking a lead over other English channels with a TVR of 0.36, and a channel share of 34 per cent. STAR Movies came in second with a TVR of 0.23 and a share of 31 per cent, followed by HBO with a TVR of 0.33 and a share of 22 per cent. Among the English general entertainment channels, ZEE English had a TVR of 0.02 with a share of 2 per cent, while both STAR World and ZEE MGM had TVRs of 0.06 and shares of 6 per cent. In fact, the figures for the past four weeks reveal that AXN has registered an unprecedented growth of 260 per cent in prime time alone, catapulting the channel to the No 1 position, and tripling its audience share from 12 per cent to 34 per cent.

While English channels have traditionally been seen as being male-oriented, lately, there has been a substantial rise in female viewership. Rohit Bhandari, assistant vice-president, Sony Entertainment Television, in charge of AXN's business interests, says, "The ratings also revealed a steady growth in female viewership for the channel. Surprisingly, data revealed that one of AXN's most popular shows, ‘Wild On', had more female viewers tuning in than male viewers, and showed a seven-fold increase in AXN's female viewership." New seasons of shows such as ‘24' and ‘Alias' have also contributed to a shift in female viewership patterns.

Sharing his observations on the rise in the channel's female viewership, CVL Srinivas, managing director, Maxus, says, "The growth in female viewership has happened mainly in the SEC A category where they have different kind of lifestyle. But if the overall viewership in all homes and SECs is taken into consideration, these programmes are still male-oriented." Bhandari adds, "Programmes such as ‘Wild On' are more lifestyle-oriented lighter entertainment programmes that are equally appreciated by male and female viewers."

While the popularity of late night programming on English general entertainment channels is certainly on rise, their ability to retain and add viewership will be put to test if and when Hindi general entertainment channels strengthen their programming in the late night band. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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