New Delhi: We are halfway into 2016, and as usual, Hindi general entertainment channels continued to dominate Indian television in terms of viewership in these six months. Here, Mint tells you what Indians watched across English entertainment and movie channels between January and June.

Re-runs of classic American sitcom, Friends, on Viacom18’s Comedy Central was the most watched English TV show between January and June, with a total viewership calculated by impressions at 2.08 million, according to data shared by TV ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes. It is also known as television viewership in thousands, as per information on BARC India, a broadcast audience research firm.

Premiered in May 1994, this iconic show is still considered comfort food for audiences across the world, even after two decades, and makes for a great binge watching experience. A March 2016 article in the New York magazine about the popularity of Friends stated, “Between its various syndicated airings, the show still draws a weekly audience of 16 million in the US, a big enough viewership to make it a viable hit on current network TV (and that’s not even including streaming). In the UK, ratings for Friends repeats are growing, up more than 10% percent in 2015 from the previous year." Read more here

Friends was followed by two American reality series—America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFHV), another gem from the 1990s, and the more recent Impractical Jokers.

Impractical Jokers is a hidden camera practical joke reality series which premiered in 2011, globally. It currently airs on Comedy Central in India and garnered over 1.4 million impressions in the six months to June. Meanwhile AFHV, in its 26th season running, which features humorous home-made videos that are submitted by viewers, generated over 1.1 million impressions among Indian audiences. A 2011 article from Wired about AFHV read, “When the show debuted in 1989, in the midst of the camcorder boom, it introduced a whole new accidental-auteur style, marked by wobbly camerawork and abrupt denouements. Because AFV consisted entirely of audience submissions—making the show an early adopter of crowdsourced humor—it instilled the then-revelatory notion that anyone’s follies could be a hit TV gag." Read more here.

American sitcom Two and a Half Men, romantic comedy show Sex and the City and reality show Survivor were among the other TV shows that featured in the top 10 English shows viewed in India.

India’s non-news English channels have always operated in niches, but nowadays, broadcasters are launching new English movie and entertainment channels and new shows on existing ones as they seek to grab a bigger share of a market worth 900 crore in terms of advertising. Star India has two new channels Star World Premier and Star Movies Select HD, while Viacom18 launched Colors Infinity last year.

No network can afford to do without an English entertainment channel as they prepare themselves for an on-demand ecosystem used by Netflix and Amazon globally.

Among English movie channels, Star Movies ruled the roost in terms of viewership with sci-fi action adventure movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, a 2015 film featuring Robert Downey Jr. getting 1.1 lakh impressions. Animation followed science fiction with The Croods, a 2013 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film, which aired on Movies Now. Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s Booker prize-winning story of a ship-wrecked young boy who shares a lifeboat with a tiger for many days; Resident Evil, a 2002 science fiction horror film starring Milla Jovovich; Fast Five, the fifth instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise that released in 2011; and Rise of the Planet of Apes were among the top 10 English movies viewed on television.

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