Channel war: Everyone 'wins' in Budget ratings

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 08, 2013 05:46 hrs

A presenter from CNBC-TV18 today dramatically took a break from market comments, with a 'breaking news' -- the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) ratings on Budget day viewership had just come in and the channel had scored 57 per cent market share, while rival ET NOW had 40 per cent.

At the same time, her counterpart in ET NOW was making the same claim. An ET NOW advertisement thanked viewers for making it the Number 1; its version had 55 per cent market share, while CNBC had 42 per cent.

Both channels chose the category of "CS AB male" over 25 years. However, while CNBC chose the time of the Budget speech to record its ratings, ET NOW chose the entire Budget day.

CNBC went ahead to establish its legacy in its advertisement. It claimed '13 years of Budget leadership'.

"The Union Budget coverage has always been one of CNBC-TV18's tent-pole initiatives. As in the earlier years, the coverage on the channel was marketed by a month-long programming line-up, which included special shows and series, ground events and contests," said an article written on the TAM ratings article, written by, owned by Network18.

The other two business channels, Bloomberg India and NDTV Profit, made no fuss about the ratings. Each received less than five per cent market share across all the charts advertised by ET NOW and CNBC. Their Facebook pages did not make any boast of rating charts, unlike their peers. Neither of these companies could be reached for comments.

Sector experts, however, do not take these claims seriously. "This is cherry-picking of data. If you want real viewership, one should look at TAM data for at least three to four quarters. In one of the ratings, Bloomberg's market share was zero. This can't be true. The sample size was so small that its viewership did not show," said the analyst, who refused to be named.

Even for advertising spends, ratings alone do not play a very big role. "TAM ratings are not the only thing that matters. There are a number of other factors considered by media buyers as well. Advertising on niche business channels are also made on perception," said Jehil Thakkar, head of media and entertainment sector, KPMG.

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