For most markets it is ‘general entertainment’ that dominates viewing, and this is certainly the case in India. However, in the latest data from the country’s audience measurement system (Broadcast Audience Research Council, BARC), the surprising statistic is the strength of the appetite for ‘News’ amongst the more conventional genres.
‘News’ is the third-largest genre, with an overall 8 per cent viewing share of the overall TV universe, according to BARC.
Confirmation of the importance of ‘News’ is that there are more than 160 channels (national and local) transmitting in English, Hindi and other regional languages, and this number is up 15 per cent in the past year.
BARC says there are 93 regional news channels (up 8 per cent). There has been similar expansion in the number of Hindi news channels on air (now 58, from 47 a year ago).
Politics and breaking news, whether international or local, drives viewership but the report also warns that the share of TV news viewing amongst younger age group is down year-on-year, in particular the 15-21 age segment.