The English genre had a challenging 2016, marked by a decline in TV ratings, according to a FICCI-KPMG report, The Promise Unfolds: Media for the Masses. Inclusion of rural viewership patterns in the BARC panel altered ratings of English channels, with some of them witnessing a drop, even as viewership for the genre increased in terms of the absolute numbers — 7.22 million impressions in December 2015, to 7.67 million impressions in December 2016 (as per the report).
Saurabh Yagnik, EVP and business head, English cluster, at Sony Pictures Network says: “There is a lot of pressure on a niche category like English because of the measurement and indications that the size of viewership is significantly lower now than what it was earlier.”
In fact, Star India recently drew the curtains on two of its channels, FX and Star Movies Action, as it didn’t make “business sense”, said a source in the company, and that there was cannibalisation due to an overlap in terms of content and audience.
Speculation is rife that there are talks to shut down Star World Premiere HD as well. Meanwhile, FX HD will go off air on July 20, as per the channel. But BARC India has a different story to tell. “We have seen growth in the English genre. A same period comparison for the English entertainment and English movie genres shows a growth of 99% and 14%, respectively. The growth is reflective of the changes in society,” states Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India.