Kannada channel ‘News First’ turns One

The channel was launched last year on 20 September

Mumbai: Kannada news channel – ‘News First’ has turned one, bagging accolades with its quality reporting, and refined language that has clicked with Karnataka’s news viewing audiences.

According to the channel, the advertisers too have seen the potential in the new entrant, considering the number of advertisers it has onboarded over the past year. The channel launched last year on 20 September, following a mega campaign- “Quality Andhray News First, News First Andhray Quality” (Quality means News First, News First means Quality).

Focussing on the pandemic coverage, News First took its campaign to the villages with “HaLLEE Chalo” (Let’s go Village-ward, Drive away Corona - Save Villages). The campaign was also supported by the state and central governments leading to renewed Covid awareness and action across villages. A city focussed Covid awareness campaign, ‘My City, My Safety’, for Bengaluru’s apartment complexes was met with equal interest by the government and people alike.

Apart from the relentless Covid coverage, the channel was also noticed for several people-centric and inspirational programming. Some of the programmes that stood out include Nimma Paravagi (On behalf of the common man), Naanu Nanna Sadhane (Recognising Business Achiever’s from Tier 2 - Tier 3 cities), Yaavdhu Asaadhya Valla (Nothing is impossible), Vijayaee Bhava (May victory be with you), Idhidhu Idhange (News as it is) Mane Mane Meenakshi (Every household has a lady who loves TV serials).

News First has relied on delivering news breaks and exclusives accompanied with high-quality graphics, and tastefully done sets, and strong content focus with shows ‘India First’ and ‘Prime Show’.

News First CEO, S Ravikumar said, “Well begun is well, done. One can’t say half done so early in a brand’s life. More so in the year of the pandemic. We’ve done well under the circumstances. Market and audience feedback has been encouraging. We’ve covered all of Karnataka cable and DTH homes. The team has lived up to its potential. Some of our shows have received good traction. But when excellence is ideal, there is always room for improvement. The withdrawal of BARC ratings upset our plans. Any strategic maneuvering can be done only after the ratings are out. But we are optimistic about our brand’s performance and hence the ratings.”

The promoters Ravi & Maruthi ensured that the channel creates a buzz before the launch, he added.

According to Ravikumar, the channel has attempted to stand out, on the back of its quality aesthetics. “So anyone flipping channels can stay for a glance. Grabbing the floating viewer is the key. There are many of them out there eager to switch and stay. News First has definitely made a start by holding this viewer tired of noise and news drag,” he added. The channel’s non-prime time programming like Mane Mane Meenakshi and Vijayee Bhava have also clicked with audiences.

Editor-in-chief SH Maruthi said, “The program names too aren’t run of the mill or copy-pasted from national channel shows. Previously known words and phrases have been brought to life as program names across different time bands. The catchy program names are meant to create a sense of belonging in audiences. The rediscovered names are meant to make audiences feel one with the brand and experience an indescribable gush of emotions.”

The BARC ratings withdrawal was a downer, but that has not diminished hopes about the brand’s perception.

Business head S Divaakar. “Milestones are key moments in the life of any brand. We are happy to have reached the one-year milestone. A century of sorts during cricketing times! Always a good feeling. However, we are aware that it’s just the beginning of an indifferent year. We have a long way to go. The market is easing up after the lockdowns. As soon as BARC eases up on the ratings, the game will truly be on!”

The channel has also bolstered its presence on social media, especially YouTube and Facebook.    

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