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Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV topples Times Now in debut week: Barc data

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-05-2017 Harveen Ahluwalia

New Delhi: Arnab Goswami’s recently launched Republic TV got the nation hooked in its debut week and became the most-watched news channel with 2.11 million impressions, 84.4% higher than that of Goswami’s former employer Times Now, for the week ended 12 May.

According to data released by Barc (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India on Thursday, Republic toppled Times Now (in week 19 of 2017), which had ruled the television charts for the first 18 weeks of 2017. Impressions, also known as television viewership in thousands (TVT), refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes.

“I feel blessed with the love, support and the massive viewership that Republic TV has received. It reaffirms my faith that people watch what they find credible. I am deeply grateful to the people of this country for making Republic TV, the number one news channel in India,” said Goswami in a statement.

In addition, Republic, on Twitter, claimed that this is the first time in Indian television history that a new channel became number one in its debut week.

Times Now, run by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL), had garnered 1.14 million impressions between 6 May and 12 May, followed by New Delhi Television Ltd-owned NDTV 24x7 which recorded 0.35 million impressions. BCCL is also the publisher of The Times of India and The Economic Times newspapers.

In the previous week, Times Now ranked first and had recorded 0.64 million impressions, while India Today had garnered 0.36 million impressions.

“It’s a big bang launch but that was the expectation all along. Arnab has come out with a different type of journalism, which resonates well with the audiences,” said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia.

However, Bhasin said advertisers will have to wait to see how sustainable the ratings are over the next few weeks. “It does appear to be a very big lead but we have to see how this pans out. It’s just one set of audience and one week of data. We need to wait and watch for the trend. But it’s a good indication for the advertisers,” he added.

The News Broadcasters Association, earlier in the week, asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to take action against Republic for alleged unethical distribution practices.

NBA had said that Republic TV had been registered by various cable distribution platforms multiple times under different genres, making the channel appear more than once in their electronic programme guide (EPG), in violation of Trai interconnection regulations.

Additionally, the association had also asked Barc to withhold the viewership data of Republic TV till the channel stops using multiple feeds. “Despite the dirty tricks, despite the threats, despite the attempts to block our telecast, the people of India have made Republic TV number one. My entire team is grateful to them,” Goswami said in a Twitter post.

“This should be a wakeup call for those who thought attacking Republic will work. The viewership of Republic TV is greater than all other English news channels put together. This is blessing my team has received from the people of India,” Goswami added.

A Times Now spokesperson declined to comment. There was no immediate response to queries emailed to the broadcaster. MK Anand, chief executive and managing director of Times Network, did not respond to phone calls from Mint.

HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint and Hindustan Times, competes with Times Group publications in some markets.

Vidhi Choudhary contributed to this story.

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