'TRP chasing has done major damage and it is time we took a call on that'

I will describe this year as one of the lowest points in Indian TV journalism. This has been the year with the most serious crisis of content. And this year has clearly shown how ratings and TRPs can affect content.

There is a serious need to look at the ratings system. If the ratings system goes on like this, where it is impacting the kind of content that is defining the channel, then it is a bleak future of TV news journalism.

This has been a particularly bad year, which is why there has been so much hue and cry and there is so much hostility towards TV news channels. The common man is fed up and everyone is saying that there is no news in TV news channels.

This has been a particularly bad year, which is why there has been so much hue and cry and there is so much hostility towards TV news channels


And in the coming year, there is a dire need for all the editors and proprietors to rethink which direction they will take their channels. And if the only factor is ratings, then we should seriously look into the ratings system. A time will soon come when people will lose faith in the news channels.

And it is this debate that has given the government the alibi to come out with a Content Code so that they can have control over the news channels. We have given the government the entry to come restrict the freedom of expression.

That's one thing. About my own channel, we can say that we were bold enough to stand our ground saying, "Whatever rubbish is going on the other channels, let them do it, but we shall not do that." I won't say we have been 100 per cent successful, but very, very successful and I am proud that we are probably the only Hindi news channel that can call itself a news channel.

We provoked ourselves to get news in the right perspective. We have been aggressive and this has given us excellent results, maybe not in terms of ratings, but in terms of perception. We have severely shaken up the political establishment repeatedly.

We provoked ourselves to get news in the right perspective. We have been aggressive and this has given us excellent results


It was our stories on Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh that has angered the governments and got Mulayam Singh annoyed with us. After he left, we did excellent reporting on the Mayawati government and they were also very angry with us, which I think is a compliment. This showed that we were not targeting any particular government, and this is why our channel was shut thrice in UP.

The same thing happened with us in Gujarat also, where we had a tough time. Our channel was shut for about a week when we did the story based on Guajrat Riots expose done by Tehelka..

We have stood firmly on our feet during these difficult times, and even in terms of ratings also, we have improved vastly. When we started last year, we had six points, and in a year, we doubled that and touched 14 per cent market share, so it is not as if people are not watching news channels. And yet, there is a crisis of content in the news industry as a whole.

The present ratings system is does not define what is a news channel.

The problem with TV is that if there is anything dramatic happening, whether it is news or not, people have a tendency to watch that. And a few channels have realised that if they have to improve their ratings, then they have to get that kind of content. It is sex that has become very, very important… it is the gory that has become very, very important…

In fact, I call them low cost reality channels rather than news channels. People go back home after the whole day and want to see what has happened in India or across the world, but what they see is everything other than news.

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