Specials

Will More News Make Less Cents

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/event-coverage/2014/04/23/pauld1.jpg?itok=aj_uDe2-

When you lose in television news you lose big time! TV news, 24/7, is a huge, hungry, unforgiving animal that will swallow up every paisa you have and still want more.

Amid the euphoria and excitement that's swirling around the industry at the moment, not least from the handful of stars who are seeing their pay packets go through the roof, spare a thought for the accountants. They have a tough year ahead.

The clamour to climb on the TV news bandwagon is being driven by the belief that audiences cannot get enough of watching live drama unfolding before their very eyes. Terrible, but gripping events like 9/11, the Afghan war and the attacks on Parliament and Gujarat's Akshardham have all pulled in the viewers. And viewers, in a very crude sense, mean money.



     

"Advertisers have woken up to TV news as an untapped and cost effective way to sell your product; certainly compared to the price of sticking your toilet cleaner between two halves of an expensive drama"

    

    

Advertisers have woken up to TV news as an untapped and cost effective way to sell your product; certainly compared to the price of sticking your toilet cleaner between two halves of an expensive drama. And so, to come full circle, where the money goes the TV execs follow hence the five new TV operations heading our way next year. The question is how much is too much.

All these TV channels are essentially competing for the same audience i.e the great middle class. The audience is large and it will grow larger but not as quickly as the number of TV channels trying to serve it. Some media analysts suggest that only three of the new channels will survive. But even for those that do, it'll be an expensive and painful experience which may leave even some of the already established Indian channels feeling more than a little bruised.

And what of the other players in the market like BBC World and the other international news channels? CNN already appears to have abandoned its South Asia coverage to fight a rearguard action in the United States with FOX who, for the first time this year, have edged ahead in the ratings war. The sight of CNN's correspondent reporting on the count in Gujarat from a telephone line in Delhi shows that Atlanta has its eyes and its resources elsewhere.

So in India that's meant CNBC has taken over the second slot from CNN. BBC World is still no 1 in India and by far the most watched international news channel taking up 33 of the top fifty slots in a recent survey on audience viewing habits but even so, we've still had to have a re-think, and react not only to the changing conditions in South Asia but from across the world. New markets are constantly opening up to the organisation, like the fact that in the last few years, BBC World has gone from practically zero to now being in 86% of American homes.

So this month the BBC created a new global news division to bring BBC World TV, World Service Radio and the BBC News On-line service under one Boss to fight a united international campaign. My appointment too as the first BBC South Asia Bureau Editor responsible for our entire news operation from Kabul to Colombo (via Delhi!) is an acknowledgment that the organisation cannot manage and adapt to the new environment in South Asia with a long arm from London.

But for the time being, the international channels are the last thing the Indian companies are worrying about. Their big priorities at the moment are how to catch and keep the local talent. TV news is still a young industry here and the pool of reserves are quite small.

So everyone is trying to poach from everyone else, pushing up wages and expectations. And the canny players, like Prannoy Roy know the importance of the talent. He has built up and seems likely to keep, with some hefty pay rises and attractive packages, his very good people. The likes of Rajdeep are tried and trusted by ordinary Indians. No one, least of all Mr Roy, under estimates the importance to the brand of a familiar face. That's why anchors in the US are paid tens of millions of dollars a year to essentially read an auto cue for half an hour a day. But the crunch will come when all the channels suddenly come up against a big costly running story hitting the headlines. Wars and conflicts are expensive.

Both for the participants and the people trying to cover them. If you want to be a big player you have to make a serious financial commitment, if you don't the audience will turn over to those that do. And the first big story in the brave new world of Indian 24 hour news will probably not be in South Asia at all but in Iraq. The programme makers will have to decide whether they want to ride the backs of their international partners (if they have them) or dip deep into their pockets to put the likes of Barkha on a tank in the Iraqi desert to show they really mean business. A serious conflict between Pakistan and India would be even more expensive.

So what will the scene look like two years from now. Journalists are lousy at predictions but that never seems to stop us (the Gujarat poll is proof of that) so here goes. Firstly I'd be surprised, like everyone else, if one or two Chief execs don't end up watching their new cars being towed out the drive as the bills come rolling in and the advertising tapers off. The stars will stay stars though and their salaries will stay with them but the middle rung correspondents and producers, cashing in now on their new found market value, should enjoy it while it lasts. If someone crashes so will their big pay rises.

That at least was what happened in Europe during the swings and roundabouts of the media there. But the industry as a whole will emerge stronger and fitter and a new generation of talent will be created. That, in the long run, can only be good for the Indian viewer.

(The author is BBC South Asia Bureau Editor. His e-mail is paul.danahar@bbc.co.uk)

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/11/19/Rajiv%20Aggarwal.jpg?itok=ejbn6g0o
FICCI keen on IPR awareness & enforcement to encourage innovation

NEW DELHI: Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion joint secretary Rajiv Aggarwal has said India’s IP framework was in the midst of a paradigm shift following the announcement of the National IPR Policy.

Specials Event Coverage Ficci Frames
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/21/Kazuo%20Hirai.jpg?itok=hs949we0
MIPCOM 2016 sets new records

CANNES: Record attendances at MIPJunior and MIPCOM, more World Premiere TV and International Screenings than ever, a remarkable Japan Country of Honour programme, a Personality of the Year, Shonda Rhimes, who packed delegates into her keynote interview and a tour de force opening keynote from Sony...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/20/Roland-ROJAS-800x800.jpg?itok=47K7ywUf
BidSlate offers film buyers, content-owners negotiation platform

What if filmmakers didn’t have to rely solely on film markets and sales agents to sell content? And international film buyers had continuous access to a 24/7 international marketplace populated by an ever-growing catalog of content?

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/19/xtream-800x800.jpg?itok=Ah8yQClN
Two popular BMX content creators join XTreme video multi-platform network

XTreme Video, the leading Multi-Platform Network (MPN) for extreme athletes and creators with over 200 million views each month and more than 50 million social followers, today announced the addition of two of YouTube’s top BMX creators, KinkBMX and Boqer123, to the XTreme Video network. Heading...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/19/insight-800x800.jpg?itok=2qQ-wKjH
INsight-Flare to produce reality competition 'The Line'

INsight TV has commissioned yet another new original format in Ultra HD, partnering with Flare Media to produce the reality competition The Line.

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/19/familier-taste-800x800.jpg?itok=70kJBQ7z
FremantleMedia brings 'Familiar Taste' to MIPCOM

FremantleMedia is bringing a brand new title to MIPCOM 2016, which promises to leave viewers feeling warm inside. Familiar Taste sees well-known faces thanking those people who have had a major impact on their lives by sharing with them a surprise meal they have cooked themselves.

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/17/the-verdict-800x800.jpg?itok=uH8q3HfI
MIPCOM: Beta Film delivers interactive TV-event 'The Verdict' throughout Europe

The interactive TV-event The Verdict continues its roll-out throughout Europe and will be simultaneously broadcast in six countries with additional territories to follow. The MOOVIE production by Oliver Berben (“Shades of Guilt”, “Hotel Adlon – A Family Saga”) will be screened in Germany, Austria,...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/17/insight-tv-800x800.jpg?itok=EhAFbZA8
'Inside the Masters of Dirt' on INsight TV to have non-scripted reality series in ultra-HD

INsight TV has commissioned a new, non-scripted reality series Inside the Masters of Dirt with XTreme Video, which follows the crew that produces the popular freestyle motocross arena show of the same name. Featuring fearless leaders in extreme motorsports, XTreme Video will be the first to present...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/17/Cyber-Group-Studios-800x800.jpg?itok=wn8u8HJB
MIPCOM: Cyber Group Studios signs deals with broadcasters, digital platforms

On the heels of MIPCOM Junior, Paris-based producer and distributor Cyber Group Studios continues to establish a strong presence worldwide by signing new agreements with buyers including major broadcasters and digital platforms for more than ten series of its catalogue. Deals cover players such as...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories