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DD scores points over satellite news channels

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MUMBAI: It took staid ole' Doordarshan to liven up proceedings a bit in the post lunch session on TV News - the new blockbuster.



After hearing satellite news channel CEOs gloat over their supposedly skyrocketing reach and increasing share of the media adspend, Doordarshan DG S Y Quraishi sparked off a mini furore by reeling off some 'hard facts' about television news in India.



Quoting TAM figures, Quraishi reminded the audience that while an Aaj Tak is content to have pushed news channel consumption from three per cent in 2000 to eight per cent in 2002, Doordarshan continues to hog between 89 to 93 per cent of audience attention in all TV homes. Even in C&S homes, DD commands a 58 per cent share, Quraishi claimed.



"A single bulletin on DD gets more audiences than the combined telecast of one 24 hour news channel" Quraishi told a cheering audience. Alleging that satellite news channels have a mere three hour odd original programming throughout the day, Quraishi said DD was the only channel that telecast original footage and news even in the dead of night. "Do I become a 24 hour news channel merely because I am a stuck record that plays the same thing over and over?" he questioned.

Aaj Tak CEO G Krishnan, who spoke earlier, outlined the phenomenal success route news channels in the country had taken, thanks to economic liberalisation, a high degree of competition and the entry of global consumer goods in the Indian market. "Television in India is growing at a faster rate (41 per cent) compared to the global rate (38 per cent)", he pointed out.

News channels, he pointed out, are the only ones that have grown in spite of the clutter in the television sector. Aaj Tak, he said, flourished becuase it adopted a stance that every audience is a news audience and was not dependant on time slots. "Daily news - that you can use" the credo adopted by Aaj Tak, the informal language it employed and building brand loyalty were some aspects that helped the channel rise to the top of the heap in the short span of a year, Krishnan said.

ANI chairman Prem Prakash, a veteran in the field of electronic journalism, zeroed in on the tremendous amount of advertising that bogs down news channels, and hoped for a future when it would be possible to view news shows without an ad break.

TV18 chief executive Haresh Chawla in his speech said that there is a huge latent demand for news, and viewers would only be happy to get multiple opinions via different channels. It would however be important to develop killer applications to enable differentiation between the various channels on offer, he pointed out.

 

The session: T V News - The New Blockbuster?

Moderator: Sahara TV's Mahesh Prasad

The speakers: ANI / Reuters director Prem Prakash, Aaj Tak CEO G Krishnan, Television Eighteen India chief executive Haresh Chawla

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