Analysing the MxMIndia-MRSSINDIA Poll on English News Channels

16 May,2017



By A Correspondent


We can be sure to see a lot of action over the next few days as BARC releases its data for English news channels. Already, there are reports on news broadcast organisation NBA complaining about the presence of multiple feeds of Republic.


Sadly, the complaint has raised questions on NBA’s impartial conduct but that’s an issue for the channel-managers to decide and sort out.The complaint is bizarre, and one isn’t sure if the TRAI should get into all of this. But, of course, if it does set a rule, it will be applicable to one and all.


Meanwhile, the MxMIndia-MRSSINDIA poll on English news channels has had huge traction in the media, advertising and marketing communities.


And the study itself deserves an analysis.

While commissioning the research, one does of course factor in the issue of how well does research on a sample reflect the mood of the entire viewing population. But, then, that’s how surveys are conducted, and it has been statistically proven that surveys are scientific. Loads of $$$s are spent on research worldwide, and the findings do help guide corporate decisions.


In the past, a similar factor is attributed to the efficacy of audience measurement tools like the one from BARC India, TAM and IRS.


Be that as it may, the findings of the study are interesting.Here’s the summary of the findings that we published, and our analysis below that in italics:


:: Majority of English news channel viewers mentioned they are aware of ‘Republic TV’ English news channel and most of them (41%) perceive it to be ‘Better than Others’.


Since the measurement data seen for English news channels is for 22-year-plus in cities with a population of more than one million homes, this data is critical. However, in the data thrown in the study, Times Now isn’t too far behind Republic. So the BARC numbers could well be interesting to look at.

:: Centre wise, Mumbai (41%) perceive it as ‘More Credible’, Delhi (39%) find it ‘Old Wine …’, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad English news channel viewers find Republic TV ‘Better than others’.


This had us puzzled. The viewer in Delhi thinks Republic is Old Wine, but the one in Kolkata – who one would assume is more discerning – doesn’t think it’s old wine at all. However, Kolkata viewers find the noise factor very high. It’s important to note that Mumbai finds Republic more credible, given that RajdeepSardesai is the Most Trusted Anchor here. Kolkata trusts Arnab more, nothwithstanding the noise.


:: Aggressive approach is found more appropriate for Debates, Breaking news and Analysis & interpretations. whereas, softer approach is found more appropriate for News deliver, soft news, sports and business news.


Well, it’s interesting to see how Kolkata doesn’t mind a noisy and aggressive debate. So obviously some variance from an early view.


:: Most viewers look at News channels to be opinionated but there is also a strong sense of believe that news channels should also play a vital role in bringing about political or social changes.


It’s interesting that a majority Mumbai and Delhi viewers don’t think news channels should be opinionated and activisty. However, it’s not a very wide margin.


:: Overall, print is a more trusted source (51%), closely followed by News channels, currently online (websites) are not considered a trust worthy source. News paper is more trusted by viewers in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai. News Channels are considered better trusted source by viewers in Mumbai and Ahmedabad.


This is the status as of today, and one is certain that online sources will rise significantly in the future.


:: When it is need to verify news, the first source is News Television (54%). This is more in Chennai (54%), Kolkata (68%) and Ahmedabad (67%).


These throw some interesting insights on the choice of media of news followers. Once again, expect the numbers to grow for digital offerings in the next two years.


:: ArnabGoswamiand RajdeepSardesaiare considered the most trusted news anchor by close to 1/3rd of the viewers. BarkhaDuttcomes at third place. While Goswamileads comfortably in Bengaluru and Kolkata. Sardesai has higher trust value in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Duttis relatively strong in Ahmedabad and Chennai.


This is a worry for Times Now as its key anchors don’t fare well here. There’s also an opportunity for India Today with Rajdeep Sardesai scoring high across the cities surveyed.


:: Among the English news channels visited in last 1 week, Republic TV was 41%, Times Now is 35%, followed by NDTV 24×7 is 32%.


This is a data point that could obviously change in the BARC numbers. But it’s interesting that Republic TV is ahead of Times Now in this sample, albeit not very significantly.


All in all, even as we say this ourselves, the MxMIndia-MRSSINDIA study builds the excitement for the numbers that are expected on Thursday and in the forthcoming weeks.


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