Arnab Goswami’s much anticipated Republic TV was launched on 6th May on multiple platforms including television, as well as video streaming platform Hotstar. And within the first week of its launch, the news channel has succeeded in becoming the most watched news channel, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India. This has led English channels affiliated with the News Broadcast Association (NBA) leaving the council.
Earlier this week, the NBA had asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to take action against Republic for engaging in unethical distribution practices. According to the Association, Republic TV was registered under different genres many times by multiple cable distribution platforms. This means that this news channel would appear more than once in users electronic program guide, which was a violation of TRAI’s interconnection guidelines. NBA also asked Barc to withhold the viewership data of Republic TV until the channel rectified this.
On Thursday however, BARC went ahead with the release of the channel and in retaliation, several English channels affiliated with NBA left the council. NBA sent a letter to BARC in which it said:
[The council had] gone ahead and released the inflated and corrupt data for Republic TV as of this morning. This has serious implications and has caused irreversible damage to India’s existing English news TV Channels.
Republic TV finished the week with 2.11 million impressions, which is 84.4% higher than Goswami’s previous employer, Times Now. The latter channel was the top English channel for the first 18 weeks of 2017. Impressions refer to the number of people in thousands, of a target audience, who have seen an event. This number is calculated by averaging the total number of views across minutes.
The much-awaited launch of this channel happened with a big bang launch but that was the expectation all along, say the analysts. Goswami has definitely come out with a different type of journalism which resonates well with the audience. It has also been added that advertisers would have to wait to see if these ratings remain sustainable over the upcoming weeks.
In the same one week period, Times Now had 1.14 million impressions followed by NDTV 24×7 with 0.35 million impressions. The Co-founder and managing director of Republic TV, Arnab Goswami said in a statement,
I feel blessed with the love, support and the massive viewership that Republic TV has received. It reaffirms my faith that people watch what they find credible.