On 11th April, 2019, the viewership data for week after Republic TV was launched, came in. And it put the Arnab Goswami-helmed channel at the top of the English News Channels’ heap for a straight 100 weeks in a row*
When Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd told us in a special podcast that “turning on the TV news in India and scrolling through the channels can be quite an exhausting experience… they are busy channels, often quite voluble ones, and that’s clearly what audiences like, and that’s the practice and it’s become the established norms,” he was right. (Listen to the podcast here for the complete context). How right, came to be known when Republic TV recently completed a straight run of 100 weeks of undisputed leadership in India as the Number One English News Channel. Republic TV reached the record-breaking feat on Thursday — not only as a strong Number One, but also as the English News Channel that expanded the genre size by a massive 79%.
Obviously, Arnab Goswami’s approach and presentation of the news on Republic TV, concentrating on ‘impact-driven and people-focussed journalism’, has taken, kept, and is driving, his channel up the popularity charts.
India’s TV news viewers obviously love fierce debate at the end of the day, on one or a couple of related main news headlines. Obviously, they also love Arnab Goswami, who is happy to relegate being middle of the road to his own passionate take on breaking news, with such personal passion and belief as often, or always, makes what Arnab himself calls the ‘Lutyens Media’ balk at the fact that he isn’t dispassionate and clinical in his response to the news but wears his belief and often his dismissal of the ‘selectively questioning’ media, very volubly on his own sleeve.
After all, Arnab has said, “My journalism is very clear. Plain vanilla journalism has no scheme in my place of things. Journalism is meant to be an inquisition. If we need to believe in a journalism of impact then we should also believe that such impact is possible only if you confront authority. In other words tolerance should not be a tool for you to tolerate the wrongs.”
Can’t argue with that.
Arnab Goswami’s approach and team have hit legacy players on viewership across the last 100 weeks. Republic TV expanded the English News genre viewership by 79% (4 weeks’ comparison of before and after the launch of Republic TV). To top it all, they have done so by widening the lead week on week.
Republic TV had opened its account with a 49% market share, which was unprecedented within Television. Subsequently the market share of Republic TV was a large 35% share across day parts and a massive 44% market share in Super Prime Time, giving it a consistent No. 1 position. Republic TV has also achieved the distinction of highest stickiness in the genre with 44% more time spent than the next channel in the genre. Another interesting data point: Republic TV’s channels viewership is more than the total viewership of the English Business news genre on TV.
A Republic TV statement has said, “Blazing through its first 100 weeks at the top position in the genre, Republic TV has broken the stagnation and antiquated approach to English news by solidifying its ‘Nation First, People First’ brand identity. Whether it be fighting for the rights of the people, standing behind our Forces, exposing those at the helm of power, or deep investigative journalism with(in) India and abroad, Arnab Goswami’s news team at Republic TV has set new benchmarks and done it all in the last 23 months.”
The statement continues, “Taking journalism outside the barricades of Lutyens Delhi, Republic TV’s newsbreaks in the last 100 weeks have not only set the agenda for India but also ensured that there is a mic to every voice and a spotlight to every corner of India.”
Republic TV’s tentpole stories
There are several stories Republic TV is proud of owning. Its statement says, “Right from its #LaluTapes launch story on May 6th, 2017, which was eventually followed by a change of Bihar Government, to its deep sting-based investigation in the #ISISTapes story which eventually led to probes on and arrests of suspects, Republic TV has centered itself on impact-driven and people-focussed journalism.”
“In the last 100 weeks of being the uninterrupted news leader, Republic TV has time and again proven that their investigative team pulls out the truth no matter how deep or where it is buried. The channel’s investigative reports on Bofors, Alpha Files, Nirav Modi’s case, Vijay Mallya’s case, Agusta Westland case, among others has proven exactly that.”
In its non-stop Number One Run, Republic TV has ensured that accountability, answerability and fearless confronting for the sake of the truth follows it all. Whether it be demanding answers for the violence in Mandsaur or it be fighting for the prevailing of justice in the case of the Unnao rape; whether it be fighting for the rights of women in Sabarimala or it be fighting for their rights in the case of Triple Talaq; whether it be the fight for equality in the 377 case or it be the fight for the truth in the Kathua rape case; whether it be the fight against the fringe when it comes to the Karni Sena violence or it be the demand for answers in cases of lynching: Republic TV has never shied away from its guiding principles fighting for the rights of the people.”
Republic TV’s nationalistic pride in ‘Forces First. No Compromise’
“As a strongly nationalistic channel, Republic TV has taken pride in the ‘Forces First. No Compromise’ slogan that it coined. Whether it be its investigative team giving the world proof of the Balakot and Surgical strikes or it be fearlessly taking on those who attempt to run down and target India’s armed forces on a daily basis, Republic TV has always worked to champion a national movement to salute our security personnel,” the channel has said in a statement.
Republic TV’s 24-hr news cycle ‘not just an automated plug-and-play
“Ensuring that the ’24-hour news cycle’ is not just an automated plug and play, Republic TV has always functioned with the principle of putting the live, breaking news first so that the viewers have access to latest and live developments– no matter the hour of day or night,” the channel says.
Republic TV has not only been live round the clock on developing stories but has done so with exclusive inputs within the breaking news format time and again: The all-night coverage of the Supreme Court midnight run during the Karnataka Government formation, the non-stop breaking coverage of Christian Michel’s extradition to India and the rolling overnight broadcast of the Bihar Government fall serve as prime examples of exactly that.
Not only has domination in terms of viewership been the Republic TV story, but the channel also elevated itself with the high-profile Republic Summit and the Prime Minister’s first pre-General Election to the Republic Media Network.
*25+ A,B, All India, per BARC)