Arnab NOW wants to challenge BBC and CNN International

MUMBAI: “No news is good news. No journalists is even better”, so said Nicolas Clerihew Bentley, British author and illustrator, best known for his humorous cartoon drawings in books and magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. In India Bentley, probably, would have been proved wrong as Indians --- at least a large swathe of the population --- just cannot do without news and certainly not without Arnab Goswami.

You can hate him, you can love him, you can call him names or you can even say he’s God’s gift to Indian TV journalism, but you just cannot ignore him. And, why not? That’s a question that the nation wants to knowdespite debating it on social media everyday. From being the quintessential outsider to be the top of the pops as the most watched television news anchor on Indian television, it has been a roller-coaster of a ride.

From the point Times NOW was considered a laughing stock soon after it debuted in 2006, to becoming the undisputed leader in the news industry, Arnab’s contributions behind the channel’s success cannot be neglected. Just like a global food brand was born when an experimentation in the kitchen went haywire by accident, it was another such accident --- some would say twist of fate --- that gave India a TV news anchor who’s loathed as much as he’s revered during his daily news show called Newshour, which actually runs beyond an hour.

Not only Arnab quit print journalism with the Kolkata-based The Telegraph after just a stint of leas than a year in 1995 to come to India’s capital city, but he also quit Delhi a few years later to migrate to Mumbai, leaving one of India’s famous nursery for news journalism, NDTV, to take up an assignment with the Times of India group’s TV venture. So much so, at one of time, Arnab wanted to quit journalism altogether.

Yes, you read it right. Arnab wanted to leave journalism. “I wanted to leave journalism 12 years back when I was in Delhi. That is one city that will ruin your courage and leave you with two options -- either quit or to be crazy. I chose the latter,” he asserted at the EEMAX Global Conclave & Awards 2016 to gasps from the swooning audience, comprising mostly young people aspiring to be TV journalists.

But happy accidents do happen.

Feeling blessed to be capable of reaching out to millions every night, Arnab doesn’t shy away from goof-ups or life’s low points. “I did mess up for the initial six months in Times NOW, “ he admitted frankly, “but, the experiences of taking up people’s stories and making the ordinary person a headline and championing him (or her), fundamentally made me realise that one needs to finally go down to the core.”

India’s most watched TV news anchor --- audience measurement data has proved that time and again --- can also afford to be preachy when he asserts for him there’s no shades of grey (forget the 50 shades) but just

right and wrong. “In everything in life, you have to bring it down to the binary. Don’t tell me about the grey areas. Those people who reside in the grey areas are those who are fooling themselves and won’t stick their necks out. Running down my republic (read country) is wrong and I will stick my neck out (to defend it),” he added, which many critics feel is just being pompous.

Often accused of ruining neutrality of news or the non-partisan approach that journalists and news anchor should champion as per gospel, for Arnab neutrality in news is baseless. “I have not dumbed down journalism. Each story that I have done runs a personal risk on me. Behind what seems engrossing, is a lot of heart, a lot of feeling, a lot of soul, a lot of idealism and a lot of risk,” he explained, adding, "Oh boy, did we hear some glasses breaking at some homes of people whom Arnab loves to refer as the `Lutyen Delhi’s privileged lot’."?

And, true to his on-screen style --- where he shouts down panellists who return to his shows despite being shut out at times --- Arnab thrashed the English news media in India by accusing it of alienating people. “They used language that is only available in a dictionary, editorial meetings happened in a sacred space where there is no communication with people outside. When analytical programmes are done, there are more people from abroad than from your own country and they speak in a language that nobody understands. That is what English language journalism had done over the years,”he makes his intentions clear, adding with satisfaction, “But the country is seeing a change.”

There are innumerable anecdotes about Arnab, his style, his posturing on TV and, yes, also his arrogance, but those don’t faze the man who seems to be on a mission.

Recently, Mukesh Ambani, considered one of the most powerful men in India with diversified interests in many businesses, including media, was asked for his views on noisy TV shows and, predictably, the shows he watched at 9 pm. The Reliance Industries boss said, "I watch Arnab and I like him very much.” So what does Arnab feel about such encomiums about him being an influencer and opinion moulder? “I am happy to know that. There is no responsibility that I have on me. If anyone wants to listen, I don’t bring my ego in the way. I do a story and move on,” he dead-panned.

There is also an incident that he himself recollected when Delhi’s incumbent chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked him a reason for not supporting him or his cause to which Ornob (one of the many names by which he’s referred to on social media) had counter-punched that Kejriwal was a marketing genius.

He has also been questioned about the way he conducted his interview with the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and how he was very `soft’ and `docile’, unlike the fiery role that he essays on Times NOW. But, Arnab sees no problem with such an approach: “Most people have a problem with that interview. They want me to call the PM as Mr. Narendra Modi, but I am a journalist. When you have eight boxes open on a screen (with panellists), I have to shout to be heard. But, when you are doing a one on one, you don’t have to shout.”

That is why when Arnab professed his love for a free media and his dream, one naturally has to do a double take. “I dream of an independent media with a capital `I’and the word underlined,” he highlighted and added that he wished to merge the independent media with the digital with an aim to bring the power of TV directly to the people while breaking the clutter at the same time. In his own words: “All this has to be achieved in the next three years. We will challenge BBC and CNN (International), and there should be no reason why we will not be able to do it.”

Considering Arnab has a view on almost everything and anything --- good researchers, notwithstanding --- his advice to budding entrepreneurs at a conclave was, in fact, quite simple and straight: “Accept your faults, build partnerships, do not compromise on your ethics and do not have too many plans. Most importantly, do not let your ego come in the middle of your dream.” Touche!

No wonder such simplicity at times, which may look so unlike most of his Newshour shows, leads his friends and colleagues to support him. Speaking to, Partho Dasgupta, a former colleague of Arnab at Times TV Network and now the chief executive of BARC, said, “Am very happy to see him succeed in the news business that is not easy. Beyond our professional lives, I know him more personally and know how good a human being he is.”

Despite the seeming on-screen pompousness and arrogance, Arnab must be connecting with professionals, friends and audience at some level. At least the data, popularity (his critics call it notoriety) and personal vouching indicate to that.

Latest Reads
This special musical video follows Bani J tirade against trolls as a part of ‘Trolled’ series on RISE by TLC

After a power packed punch by Bani J to the misogynistic trollers, comedy sensation Mallika Dua is all set to fire back with her quirks and wits and show the internet hate its place. This will be the second short format music video under the ‘TROLLED’ series and will premiere on Rise by TLC, a...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Sports dominated OOH viewership in April-May: BARC

Contributing more than half of the total TV viewership during the April-May period, the sports genre topped charts in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India's Out of Home (OOH) measurement report. Sports accounted for 70 per cent of viewership, while movies and music enjoyed 10 per cent...

Television TV Channels Viewership
News18 Network launches multimedia campaign to strengthen its position

MUMBAI: News18 Network, has announced the launch of its mega campaign 18=1. The Network, which once comprised of channels such as CNN-IBN, ETV, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat, recently consolidated all its general news channels under the News18 Brand. This has allowed the Network to develop one, seamless...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Guest column: TV Analytics on Colors Tamil

Viacom’s entry into a new regional market with channel Colors Tamil has made big news since its launch in February this year. With its sampling phase for content still running, the channel’s performance has a dynamic impact on the regional television landscape. We studied the key viewership...

Television TV Channels Regional
Mukta A2 Cinemas launches the newly acquired SunCity Multiplex

Mukta A2 Cinemas, a well known chain of cinemas from the brand Mukta Arts Ltd, announces the launch of its new property SunCity Mukta A2 Cinemas, located at Vile Parle, Mumbai. The launch took place on 15th June 2018 and was celebrated with the release of this month’s most awaited action-drama,...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Polimer TV, Gemini Movies make presence felt in BARC's week 23 data

MUMBAI:  Polimer TV, Tamil language satellite television channel and Gemini Movies, a Telugu movie channel of Sun Network, were the two new entrants in the Tamil and Telugu markets after BARC released its ratings for week 23. Star Jalsha and Zee Marathi topped their respective markets, while the...

Television TV Channels Regional
Sun TV, Zee Anmol almost neck-to-neck in across genres

BENGALURU: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) free to air (FTA) Hindi general entertainment channel (Hindi GEC) Zee Anmol entered the bastions held by either the Sun TV Network’s flagship Tamil GEC Sun TV or the channel that aired the Indian Premier League (IPL) in week 21 of 2018. Zee...

Television TV Channels Viewership
With four elections due, networks with regional news channels set to benefit

With four key assembly elections lined up towards the end of the year, India's regional news channels could be laughing their way to the bank. In a bid to maximize their revenues, channels are in the process of sprucing up their programming and hiking ad rates. iTV Network, Network18, Zee News...

Television TV Channels Regional
Markand Adhikari re-appointed by TV Vision as MD for three years

TV Vision has re-appointed Markand Adhikari as managing director of the company for next three years. The appointment is subject to approval from the members at the ensuing General Meeting of the company.

Television TV Channels People

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories