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Assembly elections: Star News leads on counting day; Aaj Tak rules across 5 weeks

Zee News tops on counting day in one TG; close fight for No. 2 during the five weeks of the electoral process

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | March 20, 2012

Compared with English news channels, Hindi news channels have a much bigger market and sample size. But more significantly, in the case of Hindi news channels, on an average only around 60 per cent of the content would classify as news. As a result, there was limited election related programming throughout the five weeks of the recent Assembly elections on most of the Hindi news channels.

In the period from March 3 - 6, 2012, the exception was Zee News which had initiated 100 hours of live election coverage. But on the other Hindi news channels, there were lots of other stories running besides the elections, such as Asia Cup team selection debate, earthquake in Delhi, AIIMS doctors on strike, violence in Hisar, Holi Specials, IPS murdered in MP, 117 hospitalised in Mumbai due to Holi colour allergy, Rahul Dravid announces retirement from Test cricket, etc..

It was on vote counting day on March 6 that all Hindi news channels had only election programming. This was the real litmus test day for the Hindi news channels.

The trend analysis using relative channel share for the last 4 days – final phase of polling on March 3 to vote counting day on March 6 – shows Star News taking an edge on vote counting day among CS AA, 15+ Years, SEC AB across all three markets (All India, All India 1mn+ and 8 Metros). India TV, which had remained No. 1 for the first 3 days, was the second most watched Hindi news channel on counting day, followed by Aaj Tak at No. 3 and Zee News at No. 4 (see charts below).

In CS AA, 25+ Years, SEC AB, the fight for No. 1 on vote counting day remained very close between Zee News and Star News. While both the channels share the No. 1 position with 25 per cent relative share in 8 Metros, Star News emerged as the distant leader in All-India market while Zee News won the race in All-India 1 mn+ markets (see charts below).

The viewership pattern for 5 weeks – from Week 6 to Week 9 – shows Aaj Tak leading in most of the markets and TGs while there was a close fight for No. 2 between Star News, India TV and Zee News (see charts below).

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