Television

New digital player Go News voluntarily submits to NBA self-regulation

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MUMBAI: ‘Nayi Nazar, Asli Khabar, Mobile Par’ (new outlook, real news, on mobile phones). The tagline in itself exemplifies the vision of Pankaj Pachauri’s news venture Go News.

Catchy tagline apart, it could well turn out to be the first digital news provider to voluntarily come under News Broadcasters Association (NBA)’s self-regulatory code. Reason: it wants to be a responsible news broadcaster following journalism ethics and breaking the `noisy’ norm presently prevalent on most TV news channels.

The app-based service, which is planned to be available on hand-held devices, is yet to get a formal approval from NBA for a membership of the Association.  

“We have applied for NBA membership. Go News (probably) is the first digital news venture to voluntarily apply for it because our aim is to become a responsible broadcaster,” Pachauri told Indiantelevision.com.

Positioned to be a digital news channel with new method of delivery and thrust on news, the mobile-only news platform (to begin with) is racing against the clock to go live by the second week of March 2017. The channel will initially host news and short format videos in Hindi language.

However, as growth and reach does come with servicing consumers of different languages, next in line for Go News is an English feed, followed by an Indian language.  Six months down the line, the app plans to provide news feed in three languages.

Pachauri, a former NDTV news anchor and media advisor to the former PM Manmohan Singh, spearheads the new venture that currently boasts of a team consisting of 40 professionals, including 10 anchors and six reporters. Professional boosts come from the likes of former BBC and NDTV anchor Darain Shahidi, a former colleague of Pachauri.

Pointing out that people are getting away from television news as the number of viewers decline, both for English and Hindi genre, Pachauri said, “English audience is annoyed with the way news is treated on TV channels...and they are walking away. The news space is crowded and loud, and journalism is dying.”

So, in an effort to bring back in vogue traditional and good journalism, Go News plans to do things differently and make an effort to provide video news of international quality. But haven’t we heard that before too from other stars like Arnab Goswami and Barkha Dutt?

Go News is a tech-heavy platform, which would be compatible with smart televisions and smart mobile phones and would aim at providing news for the “smart citizens.” Pachauri explained, “We want to break the grammar of TV news by giving people the liberty to choose a time, day and platform to consume news.” The app would also allow consumers offline viewing and as also no-pay downloaded content.

Apart from reporting on urban cities, sports, business, politics, which are the usual stuff, the channel will report on and from the rural pockets of India and will collaborate with people from the hinterlands -- for news. “The experts and teachers can talk about several issues and events on the digital platform,” Pachauri added.

Targeted at the 25-49 years age group, the channel has no advertiser or sponsor on board -- yet. That means no immediate revenues. Does that frighten Pachauri and his band of ethical journalists as several of them must have chipped in with funding of this not-for-profit news venture?  Seems not.

“No annoying ads, no annoying anchors and no annoying attitude. We have received many enquiries (for advertisements and sponsorships) but, for now, we are not looking at the business side. If we do good journalism, business will follow,” Pachauri said.

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