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Business news: Language matters

BARC data clearly shows that viewers prefer to consume business news in their native language, where available. That is why some states (like AP / Telangana) look bigger in proportion in English Business News, while some (like Delhi) don’t

BARC Research Study | Mumbai | September 12, 2016

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India is a country of many languages and many choices, be it choice of food, entertainment or television channels. If it wasn’t so, in which other country would you see a niche genre like Business News being served in three languages? With a total of seven Business News channels across three languages – English, Hindi and Gujarati – it is the go-to-genre for many for significant news events which have a financial impact.

BARC India data shows that viewership of Business News channels spikes during news relevant to their audience. During the recent passage of the GST Bill, the Hindi and English Business News genre grew by over 2 and 4.5 times, respectively, compared to the previous four-week average. Similar spikes were observed during Railway and General Budget coverage in March this year.

But if one dives one level deeper, one spots another picture – a picture that highlights the diversity and heterogeneity of the Indian TV viewership landscape.

A closer look at BARC India data reveals language preference of business news viewers in different markets / regions of the country. It reveals how viewership of business news is split between languages, as a result of which some states contribute proportionally more in one language, and significantly lower in another.

For the Business News genre as a whole (i.e., all 7 channels across 3 languages) BARC India data shows that five states/markets account for 3/4th of the viewership, and the individual share of these five states/regions (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir) is spread like this:

Graph-1

The language preference of business news viewers in these markets is clearly Hindi: that is borne out by the fact that these five states/regions have almost similar share in the Hindi Business News genre:

Graph-2

Intuitively, it would be reasonable to expect contribution / share of states in English Business News genre to be different from the above pie: and that is indeed what one sees from an analysis of data. As one would expect, South Indian states with commercial / business hubs have a proportionally higher share in English business news viewership, while HSM states and Delhi have a lower share.

Graph-3

This data is a clear indication that people prefer to consume business news in their native language, where available. That is why some states (like Andhra Pradesh / Telangana) look bigger in proportion in English Business News, while some (like Delhi) don’t. So, while the general perception is that Business News genre viewership is more English skewed, the data shows otherwise, especially for HSM markets, thus giving the real picture of “What India Watches”.

* Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir

** Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli

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