"The best thing that has happened is the wake up call on content"


And you will find that regionalisation will finally give the media greater depth. There is tremendous energy in the media in regions and they need a platform and I am sure you will see that a lot in 2008. For us it is the quality that matters, and we take enormous pride in the fact that both CNBC and CNN IBN were the winners of the Indian Telly Awards and NT Awards this year. For us, recognition as a quality network matters more than anything else at the moment.

There could be a perception that since people watch some irresponsible channels that the people in general are crass in their tastes, but looking at what has happened in the Hindi news space, I think TAM also has a need to take a second look at itself, and I don't want the ministry to be doing it, as it seems to be suggesting. That would be terrible. I have a lot of faith in the people who do our ratinsg and I think they are people of great credibility. And just as we as content makers are looking inwards, they also need to do the same thing.

I don't think the Hindi news viewer is so drastically different from any other, or that this crudeness is what he wants, because what everybody is now wanting is quality. If you do chaddi-banyan (panty) journalism, you will get chaddi-banyan advertisements. I am not going to mention any specific channel but that revenue model cannot work. In the long run you have to do credible, thought provoking, inclusive journalism.

There are too many short-term players in the market at the moment. It is a box-office-rating journalism for them. But Hindi TV news has done a lot of intelligent masala journalism and there is scope for a lot of that, without doing chaddi-banyan journalism. That is not the point. What worries me is the dumbing down of content.

There is tremendous energy in the media in regions and they need a platform and I am sure you will see that a lot in 2008


There is need to take stock of the societal changes taking place. On the day of the Gurgaon school shootout, I think that was the real story, and not Gujarat elections. On the day of actual elections, or results coming out, Gujarat polls will be the real news story, but one important thing is that we have moved away from the journalism centred around politicians. And the Hindi channels are sometimes very good at that.

And in our case, we have given our Hindi channel, IBN 7 the space to create an identity of its own. It is not a copy channel of the English CNN IBN, it has its own reportage, analysis and plan of action. If for the shootout story they headline it as "Gurgaon shootout" and not some Hindi word, I think they are entirely entitled to their own sensibility and this shows their growing self-confidence. Similarly for the Gujarat polls we in the English channel have used the word Gujarat Yatra, and why not? We are into breaking barriers. We have the Gujarat elections special programme titled "Kaun Banega CM", and why not? Why do we have to see Kaun Banega Crorepati as a programme title only in a Hindi channel?

But these are in any case the frills, and I feel that sometimes too much is inspected of the frills, but making the cake is the real challenge. That is my biggest worry: how do you relentlessly make quality news without getting into the ratings war.

What have been the best and the worst things this year? Well, the best thing that has happened is the wake up call on content, the worst thing is that we have not been able to break the barrier between quantity and quality! We have talked a lot about it, but we have to do much more than just talk.

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