Round one of the Times Now vs Republic battle has gone to the fledgling new-comer. Republic TV, which was launched with much fanfare by former Times Now editor Arnab Goswami, has topped the English news channel rankings in its first week. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) confirmed on Thursday that Republic TV was indeed the most-watched news channel in the country in its first week.
According to a report on Livemint, Republic ended the week with 2.11 million impressions, 84.4 percent higher than that of Times Now, which had managed to top the rankings for the first 18 weeks of 2017. Republic executives say their ascend to the top isn't unexpected at all. "It's a big bang launch, but that was the expectation all along. Arnab has come out with a different type of journalism, which resonates well with the audience," said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia.
However, a clutch of rival channels have cried foul about this, and have even exited the BARC rankings system. All the leading English news channels barring Republic have pulled out of BARC. This comes a day after the channels had urged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to take action against Republic for alleged unfair practices. They had also asked BARC to not release the rankings until these charges can be sufficiently probed.
A report on Times Now said the channels have pulled out of BARC after the latter refused to accept their request to not release viewership statistics. The channels have also removed the BARC watermarking from their feeds, the report further said.
As reported in an earlier report, Republic was accused of "unethical distribution practices", after noticing that the channel has been registered under different genres, thereby letting it recur repeatedly on different channels.
According to TRAI regulations, a channel is required to register itself under a particular genre, like News, Sports, Entertainment, etc; Republic, however, has been registered under several heads. "Republic is licensed as an English news channel, but for reasons best known has been registered by several multi-system operators/distribution platform operators/distributors multiple times under different genres in their EPG (electronic programme guide) by listing it on multiple logical channel numbers (LCN). We have been informed of several infractions," the letter said. View More