MUMBAI: With the Election Commission having announced the election schedule, the unfolding political drama has certainly picked up momentum. News channels were already in the fray but will now devote even more air time to election programming in the coming weeks.
On its part, India TV - which recently underwent a makeover to be hailed as a more serious news channel – will start its election programming today, using this as an opportunity to showcase its change in focus. “The commitment was to set new benchmarks in the news presentation. We have already taken leaps in that direction and elections are a direct opportunity for us to showcase the differentiation,” says India TV MD and CEO Ritu Dhawan.
The channel will kick-off its full-fledged version of electioneering next week under the title, ‘Faisla Kursi Ka’. A special election series called Aap Ki Adalat mein Faisla Kursi Ka will feature as part of India TV’s most popular show Aap Ki Adalat with India TV chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma. The regular series will continue alongside.
The channel’s flagship show Aaj Ki Baat Rajat Sharma Ke Saath has already tilted towards elections while newer shows like Yeh Public Sab Janti Hai, Delhi-Darbar, Sitare Zameen Par and Vansh are in the pipeline. “With a firm belief that content which is unlike our competition, not only have we made substantial investment for the same but we have also ensured that our content does not suffer from predictability,” says Dhawan.
Actor Om Puri will host Vansh while the other shows will be anchored by celebrities including Dalip Tahil, Piyush Mishra and Meghna Malik.
According to Dhawan, the aam aadmi’s desire for a change in governance has resulted in a nearly 17 per cent increase in viewership in the news genre, with India TV experiencing an almost 20 per cent increase.
With Hero Motorcorp as presenting sponsor, Shakti Pumps as powered-by sponsor, and many more advertisers and sponsors the likes of Tata Motors, Birla Cement, Ranbaxy, Rupa Hosiery and Emami already on board the channel during election time, India TV is expecting 20 to 35 per cent of additional revenues in this election year, as compared to the earlier non-election one.
“In total, we expect 20 to 35 per cent of additional revenues on a fairly high year-on-year base of a non-election year. That also qualifies as we have made reasonable investments in the content part,” says Dhawan. Sources estimate that the channel is looking at making nearly Rs 180 crore this year.
Coming to the what and how, India TV’s news gathering team will pan across the country’s key constituencies on polling days, complemented by a team of experts in the studio.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that we will most definitely be omnipresent through our wide network of reporters, stringers and other strategic partners. We have made large investments to further strengthen our news gathering,” signs off Dhawan.