How Republic TV is spreading its wings through media partnerships

MUMBAI: Republic TV has been hitting the headlines for its provocative stories ever since its launch and because of its attitude of taking the fight to the enemy camp, no matter how much muscle they may have.  The latest battle that has burst out is that of landing pages on distribution platforms such as DTH and cable TV operators being hijacked by older rivals for promotional feeds.

But, not many know that the Arnab Goswami-helmed news channels has roped in a roster of partners with the aim of beefing up the channel’s news gathering reach. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with more than 20 media outlets, with partnership arrangements  in place with another 10.

The media outlets which have got into bed with Republic TV include: Business World, OTV, Sambad, News Live, Niyomiya Barta, North East Live, Punjab Kesari, Aajkaal, S Newz, Dainik Bhaskar, Nirmana News, Kashmir Monitor, Lokmat, Vikatan TV, Polimer,, Asianet News, Kannada Prabha, Suvarna News, News; across India and the community partners include, RSJ,,, and AutoX.

Says Republic TV editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy: “This is a first of sorts.  No other news channel has had such, and so many  tie-ups.”

For Republic TV, which has 20 news bureaus, 10 DSNG vans and 50 news backpacks, the partnerships, says CEO Vikas Khanchandani, provide it “access into the district, local and regional areas adding to the capability of the networks’seamless exchange of news from the regional and local partners.”

And that’s where the crux lies: the partnerships are in the form of editorial exchange. Republic TV editors and the partners’ teams continuously share news developments with each other, both, on national and regional levels. Editorial meets are held at least thrice a day to decide on stories that need highlighting and following up.

Filters, and verification checks are applied by Republic TV editors to every one of the news breaks before they make their way on air. Each news story is credited to the source partner and even its logo is aired on the TV channel, along with the story. “There is no commercial exchange,” says Khanchandani. “They can also dip into our resources.”

The idea to forge alliances popped up in Arnab’s crafty news brain, he reveals. “The experience he had gathered while working with the Times made him realise that a structure like that was essential for his channel to  be able to get news reports from the grassroots levels,” he explains.

He points out to how these partnerships have helped, effectively referring especially to the news reportage by Republic TV on the raids that the National Investigation Agency carried  out in Kashmir following reports of alleged funding received by separatist groups for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley. “Other channels were sleeping, and we carried the story around at 5 am IST. We had a team five  to six  reporters, and we had gone to 14 locations which were raided,” says Narayanaswamy. “This was only possible because of our partners, and timely inputs from them which helped us strategically.”

He discloses further partnership conversations are under way with four or five international news outlets and many more domestic media outlets are knocking on the company’s doors for alliances as they believe in the brand of Arnab Goswami, and what the channel brings to the table.

“Russia Today, Sri Lanka’s Maharaja TV and Facebook are some of the international deals already in place,” he says.

Khanchandani explains that the tieups are long term in nature, and will continue even as Republic TV expands its news stringers and its bureau presence all over India.

And, many of the partners came out in full strength when Republic TV shouted its viewership dominance of the English news channel genre within the first week of its launch. “It was quite interesting to see all the corporate executives and media owners patting team Arnab on its back for breaking out into the top slot on television,” says a media observer. “This further lent credibility to what he had been talking about for so long.”

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