History overtakes Discovery in metros

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SummaryThree months after it launched, History TV18, owned by a joint venture between Network 18 and American television network AETN, said it has overtaken leader Discovery Channel in market share in six metros, riding on a mix of programmes and dubbed content in six regional languages.

Three months after it launched, History TV18, owned by a joint venture between Network 18 and American television network AETN, said it has overtaken leader Discovery Channel in market share in six metros, riding on a mix of programmes and dubbed content in six regional languages. Although the new channel has a lead over Discovery in six metros, the latter is way ahead in all-India viewership in the factual entertainment genre.

Discovery commanded a market share of 41.9% in all-India viewership, followed by National Geographic Channel with 27.5% and 17.9% by History TV18, data provided by Television Audience Measurement (TAM) show. Animal Planet, Discovery Science and Discovery Turbo ended with market shares of 11.9%, 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively.

Consultants and media buyers say, History’s differentiated programming, dubbed content in six regional languages and an eyeball-grabbing brand campaign with Bollywood actor Salman Khan led to the rise in viewership. History said in a statement, it garnered 33% market share by December, ahead of Discovery’s 31% and National Geographic’s 13% in the six metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

“Great content and language dubs is the way for global content channels to progress,” says Punitha Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media, a media buying agency. “This is what would have worked for History too.”

“Regional splits is the future for not only infotainment channels but for every channel in the market,” she adds. she says, as more and more advertisers are exploring better targeting of audiences and localisation of messaging, the need of the hour is for regionalisation of national telecast beams.

History has feeds in English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Gujarati and reaches out to 40 million TV households. “We expect to reach 55-60 million viewers in next one year,” says Ajay Chacko, president, AETN18 Media. “There’s a clear demand for such content and many regional markets are yet to be tapped.”

Besides regional content, History’s focus on the ‘entertainment’ element has also been the key. “Earlier, wildlife defined the factual entertainment space with shows primarily leaning towards man’s survival,” says Sudheer KG, vice-president, programming, at AETN18 Media. “There was an overdose of man versus wildlife, hence, when we came in with a differentiated offering of food, travel and history shows, audiences switched over willingly.”

The differentiation was also facilitated by language dubbing, he says. “Language is a key component because it leads to a transition from mindless watching to mindful watching.” Some of History’s shows

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