Breaking down the ‘News’ – Who’s watching What

Breaking News!! First on Ground Zero!! Number 1 News Channel!!

Statements like these come at us faster than News itself. And they are just about everywhere. Flashing through our tv screens, peeking through newspapers and pouncing on us through street billboards. The fight for TRP can’t get more intense than this. News channels in India are literally running a marathon with new runners joining in every few meters.  Technology has only made news gathering and dissemination quicker, unleashing this tsunami of news on us.

So amidst all this hype and hoopla that has now come to define news in India, what really is brewing inside the world of television news? Are we really watching as much news as it is made out to be?

The latest news update

News is the third most watched genre on TV in India. But coming after the two heavyweights –  entertainment and movies – it manages to grab only 8% share of the overall TV viewership. Like genres, there is a huge gap within news as well with regional segment being the big daddy of them in terms of grabbing maximum eyeballs.

For all their shouting and screaming, English news channels enjoy a miniscule 1% of the total news viewership. Makes one wonder if the intense trp war is justified compared to the stakes involved

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Regional news channels continue to dominate mainly because people want to know more about local events that may impact them over those happening at the national level. Hindi news channels once lagging behind are also catching up fast due to a large number of Hindi speaking markets most being tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

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Despite the huge numbers of news channels, the industry is nowhere close to its saturation point. 2017 saw more than 20 news channels getting into the business. English genre saw maximum growth at  33%, followed by Hindi and regional genre at 25% and 8% respectively

Who’s in the rat race?

People in South India are the biggest consumers of news, spending more amount of time than the others in keeping themselves updated. North India follows next while East contributes the least to news viewership.

States wise, Kerala, UP/Uttarakhand and Delhi are more inclined towards News, showing a higher preference for it over other genres like entertainment and movies. News viewership in the West mostly comes from Maharashtra and Goa, both accounting for almost half the numbers.

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From TV to Online

According to IRS 2017 report, more than 40 million users consume news online on a daily basis with a tremendous uptake in both regional languages & tier 2 and tier 3 towns.

Digital transformation has led to most news channels investing heavily in growing their online presence. From websites to mobile apps (both of which come with an option of live TV) social media accounts to streaming platforms, they have ensured that news reaches you wherever you are and in all forms.

But just like on TV, news channels have to slug it out online as well and not just from their TV peers. Besides newspapers, there are a number of independent online news portals and news aggregators that are in the business of giving news, both in-depth and real-time and are fast becoming popular with people on-the-go. With so much buzz in the online space, website visits, app downloads and social media followers often become the differentiators.

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On Youtube which has the presence of over 80 news channels, News ranks fourth in terms of viewership.

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Despite the boom in digital media and dropping viewership television news is here to stay, for two major reasons. For about 65% of our population that is without the internet, news channels are their primary source of information. They are still the go-to place for advertisers who want critical mass, reach and scale at one go.

So watch out! Those flashing headlines, screaming anchors and noisy debates will continue to play, all night and all day.

So will the fight for the number 1 spot – doesn’t really matter if the nation wants to know or not.

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