The once self-proclaimed “number one” Asian channel in the UK, Sunrise TV has had a significant decline in its ratings recently, according to latest data.

The channel is only one of three Asian TV services in the UK that subscribe to audience measuring body BARB for official viewership figures.

Whilst Pakistani channel Prime TV was the first Asian broadcaster to sign up to BARB in October 2007, Sunrise TV made a loud noise by claiming the top spot amongst UK Asian channels when it joined the body last year. This despite the fact no other Asian TV channel (beside Prime TV) was a part of BARB during that period.

Sunrise TV flashed promos on its radio station, Sunrise Radio and across its TV channel to declare its success in the BARB ratings. For just one week, Sunrise TV’s weekly reach hit a high of 356,000 for the week ending 24th August 2008.

In subsequent weeks, Sunrise TV had its ratings surge past the 400,000 barrier during the Christmas period but has been unable to retain that high figure. The competition toughened when rival ZEE Muzic joined the BARB body in October last year.

ZEE Muzic’s ratings have peaked to an audience of 500,000 and week-on-week has remained consistent around the 350,000 figure. ZEE Muzic too has had a couple of difficult weeks with Sunrise TV faring better twice (30th November, 18th January) since ZEE Muzic was added to BARB. Overall, the music channel has done better than its general entertainment rival, Sunrise TV.

Since January this year, Sunrise TV has had an average audience of 250,000. In some weeks, Sunrise TV’s viewership has fallen below 200,000 with Prime TV overtaking the Litt Corporation owned channel in three weeks (11th January, 15th February, 22nd February) of this year already.

A few weeks ago, Sunrise TV cut down on its live shows, which is likely to be over high costs involved in production. It now has gone heavy on more movies, recorded magazine shows and serious news elements.

As mentioned previously, Prime TV seems to be sailing high with its ratings hovering around the 180,000 figure week-on-week.

With other channels soon to join the BARB system, it remains to be seen how competition will affect existing BARB registered channels.