Chennai: The slip has begun to show. Though still perched on the top of the English news genre, Times Now is no longer the “winner by far” as the number churning has begun, a possible deviating trend from the days of Arnab Goswami, when the channel ruled their roost.
The biggest whack down has been on the time-band that Goswami had baptised the “Super prime time”. This is the 9:00 to 11:00 pm slot that is the real money-spinner and TRP-raker for all channels. It is their meal-ticket.
After Goswami quit Times Now, the channel’s super prime band took a 46 percent slash down in the NCCS AB Male 22+. This is evident if we compare the average of the BARC data between Week 34 of 2016 to Week 46 of 2016 when the Goswami anchored the show and the average of Week 47 of 2016 to Week 7 2017 data when Goswami had already exited the channel.
Sources in the market reveal that the channel is finding it difficult to bring in moolah at the same rate as when Goswami anchored News Hour during super prime-time due this particular factor.
A senior advertising professional from the market said that after Goswami’s exit, very few sponsors and advertisers were willing to buy into the slot which the former Editor-in-Chief had made a block-buster. When the rest of the advertisers also reduced their rates massively in the due course, the same resulted in couple of heads rolling at the top level, he added.
It seems the top brass of the network are in to a damage control exercises through a slew of PR activities, interviews to claim that all was well and Goswami’s exit had no impact on them.
However, with the universe expanding by BARC since Week 8’17, the gap between the top 3 channels has narrowed. Times Now got 30% of the market share in Week 8’17 and still managed to scrape through to attain the No. 1 spot, only to slip to 27% which got them the silver medal on the podium in Week 9’17. This week (Week 10’17), the pendulum has again swung Times Now’s way, but just by a hair’s breadth, when they got 29%. These conclusions are based on the analyses of BAARC’s NCCS AB M 22+, All India 1Mn+.
Times Now’s decline has come at a time when their competitors have significantly gained market share. Times Now has dropped by 20% at a time when India Today and NDTV 24×7 have gained by 25% and 32% respectively (as per the NCCS AB M 22+, All India 1Mn+ data comparing the average during the period Week 34’16 to Week 46’16 VS Week 47’16 to Week 7’17) which lends credence to the reality of a massive shuffle going on in the podium stand of English news television after Goswami’s exit and his absence in English News Media Space.
The churn in the market at the top paves the paints an ideal script for Arnab Goswami’s much-awaited Republic to enter the market. While NDTV 24×7, CNN News 18 and India Today have grown significantly by capitalizing on the Arnab-exit and absence, there seems to be a gradual cluster band forming in the fight for number one—a novelty in itself for the English news television genre. Will this aid Republic in the initial post launch-phase significantly or will one of the existing channels be able to come out with an overnight differentiator -only time will tell.
Next month when Goswami launches Republic with a bunch of young news professionals – many of them from the old Times Now-stable – the game will sure hot up bigtime.