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NBA writes to BARC raising concerns on TV9 Bharatvarsh’s unprecedented growth

News Broadcasters Association
News Broadcasters Association

There have been increasing murmurs in the industry about the steep growth curve in Hindi news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh’s viewership over the last few weeks. The channel climbed up to No. 2 in the Hindi News genre in Week 25 and continued in this spot in Week 26 as well, as per BARC data [HSM (U+R) : NCCS All : 2+ Individuals].

Now, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has written to BARC India to bring to its notice the “unusual” ratings of TV9 Bharatvarsh. The broadcasters’ body also insisted that for the last 8 weeks or more, the ratings have been unusable. It raised concerns about the unprecedented growth of viewership of TV9 Bharatvarsh as well as the frequent substantial swings in English.

NBA pointed out certain viewership trends in the News genre during the last few weeks and pointed out how TV9 Bharatvarsh’s growth trajectory was in variance with that. The first point of NBA was that after seeing an all-time high viewership during the lockdown, News viewership has been declining almost consistently on all parameters. The NBA wrote, “From Week 12 to Week 25, News Time Spend (TSV) declined by 36 per cent, this decline was consistent for all news channels except for TV9, which has actually increased by a huge 59 per cent.”

Another point of variance was that while the TV news industry witnessed unprecedented growth in Weeks 12-13, TV9 got its maximum TSV in Week 25, at a time when India entered Unlock mode and people were returning to work.

Comparing the viewing pattern of TV9’s viewers in Week 12 vis-a-vis Week 25, the NBA pointed out that while viewers spent 50 minutes on TV9 in Week 12, which was the peak lockdown period, the time spent on the channel had gone up to 71 minutes in Week 25, when people had started to go out of their homes as India started to come out of the lockdown.

NBA also did a comparison of the GRPs of TV9 Bharatvarsh’s sister channels – TV9 Gujarati, TV9 Kannada, TV9 Marathi and TV9 Telugu – and stated that all of them had seen a fall in GRPs in the last 2 weeks – Weeks 24 and 25. Hence, the advantage of network is also negated, maintained NBA.

The news broadcasters’ body also pointed out that as per BARC’s BIO News, TV9 Bharatvarsh has very little On Location coverage.

Two of the major News events in the last 2 weeks – the India-China stand-off at LAC and actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide – gained more traction on TV9 compared to the legacy news brands, which usually have the upper hand during Live and fast unfolding news of national importance, NBA alleged.

In response to Adgully’s query in this regard, a BARC India spokesperson said, “BARC India is a not-for-profit industry body and concerns raised are duly deliberated amongst its constituents. BARC India diligently reports what India watches on Television and each week’s data is released only after a comprehensive statistical and security data validation.”

Also read:
Effective mechanisms in place to handle any situation: BARC on TV9 case

As reported earlier by Adgully, there have been allegations of tampering of data in the case of TV9 Bharatvarsh, as reported by a section of the media, as well as concerns over whether the panel homes have been compromised. A video purportedly showing TV9 Network’s interference in panel homes has been doing the rounds for some time now.

When Adgully reached out to BARC India to shed light on the industry concerns over tampering of data and interference in panel homes, a BARC India spokesperson replied, “BARC India provides the industry with transparent, accurate and robust data and we will continue to do so. BARC India is driven by processes and has effective mechanisms in place, including Vigilance Team, to handle any situation.”

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