Here are the toppers from TN, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra.

Arnab who Prannoy what Guess whos leading the TV news race in south India
news Media Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 08:55

Amidst the "We're No. 1" cries of Times Now and Republic TV, what gets drowned out is the massive viewership that regional news networks command. India’s English news channels may scream themselves hoarse over who is the most watched, but past data has shown that regional news networks have a far larger viewership. While English news channels on an average make 4,50,000 impressions peaking to a million impressions per week, their regional peers garner several million impressions.

So, who’s leading the race in the southern states?

 The latest data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) given to TNM shows that Polimer News leads the pack in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Asianet News in Kerala, TV9 Telugu is number one in AP and Telangana, while TV9 Kannada in Karnataka draws the largest audience. However, in the last few weeks, all genres across all states, and not just news, lost TV viewership to the IPL. 


Segment-wise breakup of BARC’s data in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry shows that the viewership for the Tamil news genre fell by 3% from an average of 2.96 billion impressions for weeks 15 to 18 (April) to an average of 2.86 billion for weeks 19 to 22 (May) in 2017.

Polimer News has remained on top for the past eight weeks, despite viewership dropping from an average of around 51 million per week in April to an average of around 38 million impressions per week in May.  

Significantly, Polimer has 70% more viewer impressions than Thanthi TV, which has the second highest viewership in Tamil news. Puthiya Thalaimurai comes in third with an average of over 21 million impressions per week.

However, there have been several allegations against Polimer TV, whose owner also own a large TV cable distribution company in West TN, of tampering with the data.


As per BARC data in Kerala, the Malayalam news genre saw a dip of 5% from an average of 953 million impressions in April to an average of 901 million impressions in May.

The leading Malayalam news channel - Asianet News - garnered an average of over 25 million impressions per week in May, while Manorama News registered an average of 15 million impressions. According to BARC’s numbers, Mathrubhumi News saw an average of 13 million impressions per week in May, while new entrant News 18 Kerala, which launched last year, had an average of 4.5 million impressions per week.


Telugu news also witnessed a slide in viewership numbers from April to May. As per BARC, the Telugu news genre decreased by 4% from 3.04 billion impressions per week in April to 2.91 billion impressions the following month.

But while Telugu news genre on the whole witnessed a small drop in viewers, the top four channels bucked the trend, gaining more impressions on an average in May.

TV9 Telugu, the most viewed news channel in this segment, recorded an average of around 42 million impressions in May as opposed to 37 million impressions in April. NTV Telugu garnered an average of 39 million impressions while ABN Andhra Jyothi recorded an average of 33 million per week in May.


BARC data showed that the audience for Kannada news has remained stable at an average of 1.64 billion impressions per week for the months of April and May.

TV 9 Kannada was the most watched news channel in Karnataka for the past eight weeks, with an average of 54 million impressions per week in May. TV9 Kannada’s viewership, as per BARC, was 57% higher than Public TV, which came in second with an average of around 34 million impressions per week in May.  

Why the fall in viewership across genres barring Kannada?

Three words – Indian Premier League. The T20 cricket league, which began in week 14 and concluded in week 21, had a huge impact on the viewership of other genres, BARC data points out.

The other factor that contributed to a drop in viewership numbers is the “seasonality of TV viewing.” The summer months of April and May are the season of heat waves, power cuts and vacation, leading to a dip in viewership.