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


I t is easy to say that only those channels that got low ratings are criticising the ratings system. But no one can deny that many channels are taking a short cut to improve their ratings not by doing news but something other than news and calling themselves news channels.

In fact, since we managed to jump from six per cent to 14 per cent of the market share (Hindu TV news space), nobody can say that we are criticising because we failed in that growth. But news cannot compete with low cost reality shows.

I understand that issues like defence policy or India's nuclear deal may not be easily understandable for everyone. But in the place of these critical issues, there is someone calling himself a news channel and showing a lion hugging a man from inside the cage, and showing this for hours on end, that is not news. It is, of course, an interesting visual and can be shown for 10 or 12 seconds snippet, but how come that becomes the 'news'?

I think the time has come when a line has to be drawn as to who are the news channels. Why are the low cost reality channels eating into the genre of the news channels? If that line is not defined, I think the new TV news channels that are coming up are headed for big trouble. This is because people have started having a very low opinion about news channels.

What is happening is that in this market of reality TV posing as news, the reporter, the editor or serious journalist is becoming irrelevant, because their coverage is not carried. When the fate of the UP government was being decided, one so-called news channel decided to show only crime or something from the glamour world, which was not news at that point in time, though I am not saying the glamour world does not or should not make news.

So, this year, in these terms, has been extremely bad, and it has crystallised to the situation that people have become hostile to the news channels. It is has been said that some of the stories could have been concocted, and this is partly right, as some of our stringers realise that these are the interesting visuals and will grab eyeballs, so they sometimes do concoct and sometimes they recreate an entire story.

No one can deny that many channels are taking a short cut to improve their ratings not by doing news but something other than news and calling themselves news channels


Unfortunately, this is happening in a year during which TV channels have done some wonderful work. In fact, some great work. It has seriously posed a challenge to the people in power and exposed them, whether you agree on principle about the sting operations or not. But no one has till date raised a finger against the sting on parliamentarians on the cash-for-query issue.

But despite all this good work, the whole system of TRP chasing has done major damage and it is time we took a call on that so that this entire positive is not overshadowed by that chase.

So far as business goes, the main issue is what the advertisers feel they should do: whether they should flock to low cost reality channels with higher TRPs or to those which have a better perception in the market. But this year is a defining one in these terms.

So far as the trend is concerned, we have seen the big advertisers stay with the respectable channels and there is no definite trend to show that channels getting higher TRP are necessarily getting more revenue. These channels that are doing serious news are getting good business, even if they are number four or five in TRP terms.

If despite the lower ratings these serious news channels are earning enough revenue to do good business, this so far is a critical point.

But are the low cost reality channels with higher TRPs getting more revenue, or will they do so? This coming year will show that, whether the advertisers take a 'perception' route or a 'rating's route.

If the reality channels start getting revenue in proportion to their market share, then there is no future for serious news in the market

It is time for the agencies to decide whether a good product should be seen on a respectable channel, or on a channel with higher market share but not such a high reputation, and the decisive battle will be on us this year and the coming months will tell us where the market is going.

But so far as the industry as a whole is concerned, one major positive thing this year is the coming of the News Broadcasters Association.

It is because of the NBA that we have been able to send a powerful statement to the government that their content code is not acceptable to us, and despite so much of fragmentation and competition between the various news channels this has happened. I think this is great.

Latest Reads

Govt extends support to M&E sector in fighting digital piracy

NEW DELHI: The government of India yesterday stressed that it stood alongside the media and entertainment (M&E) industry in fighting digital piracy to safeguard loss of revenue and ease norms for doing business, while CII entertainment committee head and Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
M&E industry to hit Rs8 trillion revenue by 2022: report

According to a report published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s media and entertainment (M&E) industry is expected to reach revenue of Rs7.5-8 trillion by 2022 from an estimated Rs4.5 trillion in 2017. Over the next five years, the industry...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF’s first Animation Pitch announces winners

MUMBAI: As the Asia TV Forum (ATF) draws to a close today. The event saw several activities such as an exciting round of on-stage pitches where producers from all over Asia presented their ideas, the winners of the inaugural Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) Animation Pitch and the unveiling of the...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Indian OTTs to be in focus on day 2 of ATF

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) will commence today with 60 countries taking part. The first day will see sessions based on content, advertising and the evolution of storytelling and digital traditions and innovation Ninety thought leaders will deliver fresh insights...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
'It is criminal for TV not to think of social change' - PMC's Kriss Barker

For most programming executives and managements in TV companies today, television is all about running on a treadmill chasing ratings, viewership, and the concomitant revenues, followed by the next bonus and promotion. Every trick in the creative book and outside it is resorted to keep the...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF 2017 attracts Indian content studios, both big and small

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) is round the corner and the buzz around the event only seems to be ramping up. This year, the forum will see around 60 countries from all over the globe. From 28 November to 1 December 2017, more than 90 thought leaders will deliver...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Singapore's ATF 2017 promises more than ever

Reed Exhibitions’ Asia Television Forum (ATF) is back. And Asia’s leading content market cum conference which brings together Asia’s broadcasters, digital platforms, distributors, studios, content creators to strike deals amongst each other and other international buyers and sellers from ---...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
MIPCOM 2017 - Content Really is King!

Eye-opening, international, new content for multi-platform that fully embraced digital and VR were my key takeaways from MIPCOM 2017. The world may be going digital but content will always be king!

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
Chhota Bheem becomes Mighty with Netflix

CANNES: The studio behind the popular animated show Chhota Bheem, Green Gold Animation has been commissioned by Netflix to make an exclusive 13-episode series on its trademark show. Paradoxically titled Mighty Little Bheem, the series is set to be released in August 2018. Each episode of Mighty...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories