Television

Uncorking the mirth News channels are increasingly including the political spoof in their FPCs, intent on widening their viewership base and lightening heavy political coverage

Political spoofs ? as short vignettes ? seem to be the latest trend among Indian news channels.As part of their never-ending endeavour to attract viewers, many top channels like Aaj Tak and NDTV are exploring the quirkier side of people in the news. The trend is a 10-minute comic filler that portrays a political leader in a tight spot or just an ironic situation. It could be called the equivalent of an editorial or pocket cartoon in a newspaper -- maybe even ?a You Said It?, by Laxman.

The news channels? vehicles differ: NDTV 24X7 has it in the form of a puppet






Sahara?s Dharti Pakad amuses while poking fun at the political system in the country

show ? Double Take. The broadcaster?s Hindi equivalent NDTV India has Gustakhi Maaf. Aaj Tak ushered in the New Year with Charsobisi Ka Saal, a quirky series on the misadventures of 2003. The channel also aired a series of spoofs called Aaj Ka MLA, during the Assembly elections in December last year. Sahara Samay Rashtriya also had the Dharti Pakad series during the elections.


This appears to be just the beginning. These short vignettes are fast becoming very popular among television viewers, as Rajdeep Sardesai managing editor at NDTV told IndianTelevision.com. NDTV?s Double Take and Gustakhi Maaf take a dig at social and political problems. Sardesai says, ?It is a five-minute programme, but I don?t call it a promo or a capsule. It is a complete show ? with a beginning and an end.?







NDTV?s Rajdeep Sardesai - "Not all people are concerned about serious news, but almost everybody watches Double Take"


Sardesai says he considers Double Take very important for the channel because it interests a variety of viewers, irrespective of their age, sex and social economic class (SEC). He says, ?Political takes are very interesting? Not all people are concerned about serious news, but almost everybody watched takes. In that sense, you may say our target audience is the widest range of viewers.?


Conceptualising


So what goes into conceptualising these vignettes. Sardesai explains, ?We have an entire team working towards conceptualising and handling the shows. It?s very competitive, as we pick current issues and have to immediately visualise and work on the puppets. Our work doesn?t stop with creating the puppets, we have to think of a voice-over and setting the stage for filming -- all in a limited time-frame.?


Rajiv Bajaj, editor of Sahara Samay Mumbai, says, ?Obviously, a great deal of character study goes into conceptualising spoofs.? Just before the assembly elections (December 2003), Sahara Samay (Rashtriya) had come up with a character called Dharti Pakad. He was a mocking, sarcastic individual who spoke the language of the people and grilled politicians. Bajaj says, ?Dharti Pakad was in fact a real character ? Kaka Joginder Singh, an illiterate who used to try hard to contest elections in the 1990s. However, his nomination papers would always be rejected.?


Bajaj says, ?We had to get enough background on Kaka before we were confident we could develop the character perfectly.?


Popularity stakes


One proof of the spoof?s popularity is that it appeals to a wide audience ? people in almost all age groups. Channel heads themselves agree that while news and news shows are watched only by a select few, spoofs appeal to a wide variety of viewers, like school and college kids, working women and housewives.


And it?s no fluke that spoofs have such a wide appeal. Sardesai says, ?When we come up with concepts for Double Take, we keep in mind that our target audience includes the widest range of viewers. Political takes are very interesting ? even for people not interested in news.?


Money matters


Another factor that shows how seriously channels are taking spoofs is the amount of money they are spending on them. Considering that these spoofs are just short 10-minute fillers, while the channels? main business is news, one







Royal Canadian Air Farce - a spoof but not on a news channel

would expect only a minuscule portion of a channel?s money to be budgeted for spoofs. Surprisingly, that?s not the case. Sardesai says that not just a substantial budget is allocated for them, but a budget that rivals the money spent on news. ?While I can?t specify the exact amount we shell out for them, I can say the budget allocated is equal to the budget for all news programmes,? he says.


Credibility at risk: An on-air farce?


While political spoofs certainly seem to kindle the viewers? interest, a compelling question follows: will such shows affect the channels? credibility when they report the actual news? A journalist at one of India?s leading newspapers says, ?It very well might, we?ll have to wait and see. Airing spoofs, cracking jokes on political parties may be entertaining, but the main aim of any news channel is to report and inform in an unbiased manner. The moment a channel takes a dig at a political leader or a party, that basic objectivity is lost. Channels like NDTV and Aaj Tak probably don?t realise it, but these 10-minute capsules could damage them irrevocably. People could lose faith in their credibility.??


Taking the examples of two foreign news channels, the journalist says, ?Take a look at CNN or the BBC. They would never air anything whose aim is first and foremost entertainment or ridiculing a newsmaker. Even their features and other programmes are aimed at being mainly informative and reportage. Entertainment and comedy programmes, like Royal Canadian Air Farce, are left to the entertainment channels. CNN or BBC would never air a show like that. It would quite simply destroy their credibility.?







Zee Telefilms director Laxmi Goel wants to instal live news tickers in Mumbai and Kolkata too

In India, Royal Canadian Air Farce airs on Zee English. As for Zee News, it is keeping away from spoofs, though it isn?t shying away from innovative marketing strategies. Recently, the channel installed live tickers at various busy road signals in Delhi. The tickers flash the day?s ?breaking news?. According to Laxmi Goel, Zee Telefilms director (News Group), the marketing initiative will soon reach Mumbai and Kolkata too.


One channel that probably believes that spoofs can damage a news channel?s credibility is Star News. Maintaining that Star News is a serious news channel and should stay that way, the channel?s brand director Keertan Adyanthaya says, "We don?t want to indulge in any such promotional or marketing gimmicks. We report straight news and would not want to digress under any circumstance."


Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/19/tv.jpg?itok=sMpw7SEL
Broadcasters see regional adex space growing

Now that the Hindi fervour has died down, broadcasters and advertisers have latched on to the regional segment. It's no wonder that the adex in the space is expected to grow as well. According to the global ad growth forecast of GroupM, India’s adex is expected to grow at 14.2 per cent compared to...

Television TV Channels Regional
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/17/10.jpg?itok=tYOD3hMY
Bodhi Tree focusing on three verticals to scale up business

Over the top (OTT) services have given a big boost to production houses in the country  Bodhi Tree Multimedia, started by Mautik Tolia and Sukesh Motwani five years ago, only concentrated on general entertainment programs on TV initially. Following the change in the overall entertainment industry,...

Television Production House Fiction
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/17/zee.jpg?itok=cSVH9EqA
Mumbai Team franchisee owner unable to meet financial obligations towards Zee Maharashtra Kushti Dangal

Mr. Pranav Rajesh Dake, owner of Zee Maharashtra Kushti Dangal’s Mumbai team – Mumbai Astra has regrettably been unable to meet the financial obligations towards Zee Maharashtra Kushti Dangal (ZMKD), its players and technicians.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/17/Zee-TV.jpg?itok=lBZaLw5Q
Zee TV gets ratings boost from Zee Rishtey Awards

Zee TV's recently concluded annual awards property, Zee Rishtey Awards, clocked the highest viewership ratings across award shows that took place in the last two years. As per the recently released BARC HSM weekly data (Urban + Rural) for the week 44 '18, it secured a viewership of 5495 TVTs, which...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/17/old.jpg?itok=VayqOVWq
No changes in Kannada, Marathi segments in BARC data week 44

In the Bengali space, Colors Bangla and Sony Aath swapped their fourth and fifth positions in BARC data week 44. News18 Bihar Jharkhand emerged as the new player in the market by securing fifth position. No changes were observed in the Kannada and Marathi segments.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/16/epic.jpg?itok=YUXKfF_T
EPIC CHANNEL CELEBRATES 4 YEARS OF GENRE DEFINING CONTENT

Launched on November 19, 2014, EPIC celebrates the completion of four years on air, in which it has set aspirational benchmarks for Indian TV content.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/16/all.jpg?itok=Bl1B0RFF
Celebrating 100 years of Bengali cinema, Viacom18 and Film Heritage Foundation bring the 4th Film Preservation & Restoration Workshop to Kolkata

In line with the centenary celebration of the Bengali Film Industry, and with a purpose to encourage and give an impetus to film preservation and restoration, the 4th edition of Film Preservation & Restoration Workshop India (FPRWI) 2018 was today inaugurated at Kolkata’s Rabindra Sadan.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/16/vimal.jpg?itok=vZMIDq7y
Vimal Elaichi Pan Masala enters top 5 most advertised brands in BARC week 45

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released its data for top advertisers and brands between 27 October-02 November 2018. The data is a reflection of top 10 advertiser and brands across genre on Indian television (U+R) : 2+ Individuals. The data demonstrates ads that were...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/16/zee.jpg?itok=A45zgrUK
Zee Anmol back on top of Hindi channels across genres

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd's (Zeel) free to air (FTA) Hindi GEC Zee Anmol was back to second rank in Broadcast Audience Research Council of India’s (BARC) weekly list of top 10 channels across genres in week 45 of 2018 (Saturday, 3 November 2018 to Friday, 9 November 2018, week under review...

Television TV Channels Viewership

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories