MUMBAI: Think Goa and what comes to mind is idyllic surroundings but never the frenzied pace of a news channel. However, the reality is that there are not one but five news channels in the tiny state whose area measures just 3,702 km.
Of the five, only one manages to call the shots i.e. Prudent Media, which is based out of Panjim and owned by powerful business conglomerate, Fomento. Having started operations in 2007, the news channel has already made it to being the market leader, according to media planners.
Prudent Media has an experienced editor in Pramod Acharya, who has been with the group for five years. In his 11 years of journalism, Acharya has worked with India’s premier news channel CNN-IBN, prior to which he was with local dailies Sunaparant and Rastramath. Other anchors include Suyash Gavnekar and Priyanka Prabhu Chodnekar who host news bulletins in English and Konkani.
The channel has a 60-strong team including 10 journalists based outside Goa who are stringers. Many of the journalists double as video journalists. Six news bulletins are telecast every day and the channel uses Panasonic 102 and PD 170 cameras to capture news imagery for the same. Some of Prudent Media’s signature shows are Head On and The Debate. In Head On, the host takes on the guest, usually a local politician, with some hard questions. The Debate, as suggested by the name, is in a debate format. Among other shows are Sattagraha, Gajali, Hello Career, Simply Sport, Lokshay Hai Hai, Just Imagine and Counter Point.
Through a barter system with CNN IBN, Prudent Media gets footage of national and international issues from the former in return for local news feeds. Currently, the channel is available on two multi system operators (MSOs) - Future Digital Infotainment and Indusind Media and Communications Limited as well as eight to 10 smaller cable operators. The state has an interesting phenomenon of duopoly system, where viewers subscribe to both DTH and local cable operators. In the beach belt where tourism flourishes, hoteliers mostly subscribe to DTH.
While Goa has a population of 14-15 lakh, according to Prudent Media editor Pramod Acharya, the channel has a viewership of 7-9 lakh. “This is based on half yearly surveys our channel conducts,” he says. In terms of advertisers, both local and national brands are on-board the channel in a ratio of around 70:30, respectively. Among national brands, Amul is a recent entrant. According to highly placed industry sources, the ad rates for a 10 second slot could vary from anything between to Rs 300 to Rs 800.
In terms of digital presence, Prudent Media has an Android app which when launched on 15 August last year witnessed over 1,000 downloads in 48 hours. As of now, the channel’s Facebook page has 16,036 likes, while it has 2,303 followers on Twitter. The channel website offers live streaming of shows to audiences in India and abroad.
While Prudent Media in particular and the news industry in Goa in general are still far from their regional counterparts, once digitisation kicks in, this nascent industry may well start getting its due recognition.