BENGALURU: Regional news is has more per capita consumption in respective languages than Hindi or English news . Further, the consumption of all regional news channels is larger than Hindi news.
Data across three separate periods has been considered in this paper – For the current period, data for a 26-week period, starting week 13 of 2019 until week 39 of 2019, has been used. For the pre-NTO period, data across 23 weeks between week 35 of 2018 and week 5 of 2019 has been considered. For the post-NTO period, due to BARC’s adoption of an earlier method of treatment of landed pages and outliers, data across 17 weeks between week 23 and 39 of 2019 has been considered.To arrive at the per capita viewership or consumption, the author has considered the 17 weeks average (post NTO) and the 23 weeks average (pre NTO) number divided by the respective population of the respective market as per BARC India, Households and Individuals Universe Estimate – 2018 (BARC Population Estimates 2018).
Why these specific periods?
BARC started publication of viewership data in the public domain of news channels in the four South Indian languages in week 1 of 2019. Four additional regional news channels besides the four South Indian languages in the public domain were added in week 35 of 2018. Later, BARC had stopped publishing data in the public domain between weeks 6 and 12 of 2019 to enable viewership to stabilise. Hence the only stable data available in the public domain before the implementation of NTO was between weeks 35 of 2018 and week 5 of 2019, or for a 23-week period. After recommencement of publishing data in week 13 of 2019, BARC reverted to an older method of treating landed changes and outliers in week 23 of 2019.The latest data available at the commencement of writing of this article was week 39 of 2019, hence average viewership for this period of 17 weeks has been considered. For overall viewership trends in the current period, data between weeks 13 and 39 or for 26 weeks (roughly half a year) has been considered.
Markets and Demography
BARC has specified the following demographics of the news channels for the data that it releases in the public domain:
Hindi news: Hindi Speaking Markets, both urban and rural or HSM (U+R): NCCS All: 15+ Individuals.
Telugu news: Andhra Pradesh or AP/Telangana (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Kannada news: Karnataka (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Tamil news: Tamil Nadu/Puducherry (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Malayalam news: Kerala (U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals
Oriya news: Odisha (U+R) : NCCS All : 2+ Individuals.
Assamese news: Assam / North East / Sikkim(U+R): NCCS All: 2+ Individuals.
Bangla news: West Bengal or WB* (U+R): NCCS All : 2+ Individuals,
Marathi news: Mah/ Goa (U+R) : NCCS All : 2+ Individuals.
English news: All India (U+R): NCCS AB: Males 22+ Individuals.
BARC considers HSM or Hindi Speaking Market as All India without the four South Indian markets. Hence, the author has subtracted the NCCS 15+ population of the four South Indian markets from the All India NCCS 15+ population to arrive at the HSM 15+ population numbers. In the case of per capita consumption for South India, the author has taken the sum of average weekly impressions of the top 5 channels for each language and then added the four sums to arrive at the total average weekly impressions for South India, this total average has then been divided by the 2+ population figures for each of the four languages/six states as per BARC Population Estimates 2018. In the case of English news, the author has calculated the NCCS 22+ Males population by extrapolating the overall male and female ratio and the ratio of the 22+ individuals with the all India population with the sum of BARC numbers for NCCS A 22+ and NCCS B 22+. To arrive at the per capita consumption of news on the top 5 channels for the country, the 23 week average of the 10 languages has been divided by the 2+ population of India as per the above mentioned BARC Universe estimates. Individual HSM (R) and HSM (U) viewership numbers have not been considered to arrive at the per capita consumption of news on the top 5 channels for the country.
Per Capita news Consumption post and pre implementation of NTO
Please refer to the chart below for per capita news consumption of the top 5 channels of each language.

Current Status
The charts below covers data between weeks 13 and 39 of 2019, the last week for which BARC data was available at the time of writing of this report. This report covers approximately six months of calendar year 2019. BARC had stopped publication of data in the public domain after week 5 of 2019 to enable ratings to stabilise after the implementation of TRAI’s new tariff order and recommenced publication of the same in week 13 of 2019. Hence, here onward this paper looks at news-watching trends of top 5 news channels across 10 languages.
The unit of viewership measure in all cases in the charts below is thousand weekly impressions. Please refer to the figure below:

As is obvious from the chart above, viewership of the top 5 regional news channels of 8 languages is far higher, by an average of about 46.33 percent,than the viewership of Hindi news channels in HSM (U+R) during the 26 weeks under review).
Most-watched regional news channels
Here below is a chart showing the viewership data for news channels in the eight languages mentioned above in their respective markets. As is obvious, Kannada news has a much bigger viewership even in absolute numbers than other languages.

Most-watched Assamese news channels
Five channels were present in BARC’s weekly list of Top 5 Assamese news channels during all the weeks between weeks 13 and 39 of 2019. News Live was the most-watched Assamese news channel by far.

Most-watched Bangla news channels
There were five channels that have consistently appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Bangla news channels during all the 26 weeks under review in this paper. As is obvious, ABP Ananda was the most-watched Bengali news channel, followed by Zee 24 Ghanta. Please refer to the figure below:

Most-watched Kannada news channels
BARCs weekly lists of Top 5 Kannada news channels between weeks 13 and 39 also had five channels that were consistently present during the entire period. TV9 Kannada was by far the most-watched Kannada news channel followed by Public TV during the period under consideration in this paper. Please refer to the figure below

Most-watched Malayalam news channels
Seven channels, each of them at least once, appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Malayalam news channels during the period under consideration. Of these 7, three have consistently appeared in the Malayalam news channels lists during all the 26 weeks under review. These three channels were – Asianet News, which is by far the most-watched* Malayalam news channel, followed by Manorama News and Mathrubhumi News. Please refer to the chart below:

Most-watched Marathi news channels
In the case of Marathi news also, five channels consistently appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Marathi news channels. ABP Majha was the most-watched Marathi news Channel. During 15 of the 23 weeks under consideration, TV9 was the second most-watched Marathi news channel. However, since week 32 of 2019, Saam TV has been ranked second in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Marathi news channels. Please refer to the chart below.

Most-watched Oriya news channelsAdvertisement

Seven channels, each of them at least once, appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Oriya news channels during the period under consideration. Of these 7, three have consistently appeared in BARC’s weekly Oriya news channels lists during all the 26 weeks under review. They are OTV, which was the most-watched Oriya news channel, followed News7 and Kanak News at second and third place respectively. Please refer to the figure below:

Most-watched Tamil news channels
Six channels appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Tamil news channels at least once. Three of these channels have consistently appeared during all the 26 weeks under consideration in BARC’s Top Tamil news channels list. Polimer News was the most-watched Tamil news channel by far and was followed by Thanthi TV and Puthiya Thalaimurai at second and third place respectively. Please refer to the figure below:

Most-watched Telugu news channels
Six channels appeared in BARC’s weekly lists of Top 5 Telugu news channels at least once between weeks 13 and 39 of 2019. Three of these channels have consistently appeared during all the 26 weeks under consideration in BARC’s Top Telugu news channels list. TV9 Telugu was the most-watched Telugu news channel during the 26 weeks under consideration in this paper. NTV news was at second place followed by V6 news at third place. Please refer to the chart below:

Closing Remarks
Media groups and news networks such as the ABP Group and Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (TV9) have channels in more than one language that are among the Top 5 channels in that market or language.* Many of them have news channels in other languages/markets also.
Television news is an important genre. India has multiple languages and small and big networks, independent channels – television broadcasters to be more precise - cater to viewers’ tastes by beaming in content that they prefer. News is an important genre, and there are news channels galore across languages – some of them have even been crowned as ‘views’ channels. The FICCI M&E 2019 report says that 43 percent of the 885 private TV channels in India were ‘news channels’. The FICCI report says that news, which commands a 7 percent share of viewership garnered a disproportionately high share of advertising volumes. The lion’s share totaling 77 percent of the viewership was taken by escapism – or movies and GECs. Yet, Hindi regional news was amongst the top 10 genres and had 5 percent of the advertisement share in terms of volumes of advertisements or insertions.The report also says that contrary to popular perception, TV viewership is high amongst youth (15-30 years) even in the digital age. Youth contribute 32 percent to total viewership with a 30 percent and 32 percent split between urban and rural India.
An earlier BARC report says that news events cannot escape the lure of drama. And drama includes elections and election results, deaths of celebrities, high court and supreme court verdicts on celebrities and sensitive issues, major changes such as demonetisation announced by the central government, major public holidays such as Independence and Republic days, important events such as the Uri surgical strikes that pertain to terrorist attacks and counter-attacks, etc. Data for election results week – week 21 of 2019, could not be considered in this paper for analysis of per capita consumption because of the change in BARC’s methodology two weeks after election results week. However, week 21 data has been considered in other parts of the report.





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