though channels have taken their respective positions (which
some differentiate as the 'perception route' Vs the 'numbers
route'), there is a lot of cross talk within the channels
themselves, and thus it is that we find a Hindi channel editor
talking of values of credible journalism and an English channel
editor talking of the 'robustness of Hindi news'.
is a melting pot on the boil and the process is not going
to crystallise in the next few months, but overall, there
is a sense of a lot of soul churning and of the new, just
decade-old industry trying to see where it goes and how it
survives - and on which formula.
analysis of the market share of the derided-by-some sensational
(tabloid?) channels shows they have a consistent high rating,
and India TV is a case especially in point, where it has become
the No. 3 from a much lesser position.
where is the market going? Chintamani Rao, CEO, India TV has
been consistent: "We are going where the people are going,
that is where the market is." And he cannot be denied
this claim because of the consistent rise in the ratings of
other pointer in the same direction is NDTV 24/7 going FTA
after the rolling out of Cas in the three metros, as it was
a clear indicator that people were staying away from it if
it stayed 'pay', despite the 'ideological' position of sane,
serious and credible journalism.
news channel NDTV India, despite sliding sharply on the ratings
front since last April, has stuck to its 'credible' credo
and promises to 'stay the copurse'.
Group CEO Narayan Rao, like his surname-sake Chintamani Rao,
is consistent in his opposition to what the latter holds as
the winning formula. Narayan Rao had told us during his mid-year
statement on Hindi news channels: "It is a short term
passing phase. In the long term, for any news channel, it
is credibility and authenticity that matters. Whatever the
situation is, we never opted to go down a certain route. We
still have the same philosophy as we had when we conceived
between comes CNN-IBN and IBN 7, in English and Hindi respectively.
The statements from both Rajdeep Sardesai (Editor-in-chief
for the group and directly handling CNN-IBN, and Ashutosh,
Managing Editor at IBN 7 echo Narayan Rao on the issue of
credibility, but are far more eager to experiment with both
content and form.
7 has brought some of the best exposes through sting journalism
but says it is steering firmly away from sensationalism, whatever
the cost. Ashutosh says that if it benefits society at large,
he is all for stings, but "why should any politician
having illicit sex in a state guest house be considered serious
journalism, unless this act is coming in the way of his public
the same time there is an in internal debate on what to show
and for how long, and whether the sensational or even trivial
has some place as 'entertaining information and visuals' punctuating
instance, one channel was showing a half hour repetitive shot
of a lion hugging a man from behind the grills of his cage.
The side talk at IBN 7 was, this is an interesting shot and
people would like to see it, but IBN 7 would perhaps just
have a 10 second take on it.
is where the moral debate is rooted in business terms: that
eyeballs are important, but some say they will not veer a
centimetre to get them, and some say a centimetre is OK if
we can restrain ourselves to that. The other view is, of course,
eyeballs is everything.