Television

Challenge for the TV news industry is to find the right balance: Barun Das

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NEW DELHI: The TV news industry in India is going through a tough phase with high distribution cost, softening of ad revenues, falling standards of news and too many players fighting for a small pie.

But what happens when suddenly the industry realises that the challenges are too many and efforts are too less? It calls for the top bosses to sit together and scratch their heads to find the right balance.



Delivering the keynote address at the fourth News Television (NT) Summit in New Delhi, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) VP Barun Das said the need of the hour is to find the right balance.

Das, who is also CEO of Zee News Ltd, accepted that the challenges the news TV business is facing are bigger than what the industry can handle.

Ruing the overdependence on ad revenue, Das said: “We are dependent on advertising revenue to run the business. Unlike other markets, subscription, which should have been the revenue leader, has turned into a cost head.”

Das said there is a mad race for eyeballs and the need to attract the lowest common denominator, which is leading to trivialisation of news. “We should present content in an exciting manner but we have to strike a balance here,” he said.

Das also mentioned three milestones that shaped the news industry. The first was in 1992 when the government allowed private channels to broadcast news; the second important milestone was the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack coverage, which led the NBA to swing into action and come out with guidelines and advisories. He quoted the example of the coverage of the Ayodhya Verdict, when “everything went right.”

The third and the most significant milestone was the recession. “Though the Indian economy was never exposed to the kind of recession that gripped the other parts of the world, it helped the Indian news channels to get their focus back on costs,” Das said.

 

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