Manoj Jagyasi and the promise of Bharat24

It is being promoted as a complete "national" news channel.

MUMBAI: Referred to as the turnaround man amongst kith and kin, Manoj Jagyasi was recently appointed as a chief business officer & strategic advisor to the board of month-old Hindi news channel Bharat 24. His remit: all aspects of the broadcast business (revenue management, marketing research, operations, and content co-creation) and advising the board on future expansion.

His last sojourn was with Zee Media where he was chief revenue officer for around two years, and previously as an executive cluster head for a year. A professional with an experience of more than two decades in the industry, he has also had stints with ETV Network, ITV Network and Network 18 Media as associate vice president - revenue head for almost nine years. Jagyasi has also worked with Unilever and Red FM 93.5, in the past.

What could have been the rationale behind launching on 15 August in an already crowded Hindi news market with a finite ad pie?

“When most national news channels are focussing more on the NCR / UP market, we saw the opportunity for a truly national news channel. No matter how cluttered the market is, there is always room for the right product and with the right revenue strategy and the right talent, there is always scope for monetization. The TV business has been witnessing continuous growth and we intend to follow the same trajectory,” explains Jagyasi.

With the understanding that to be a truly national news channel, the team would have to think big, in every way, including investments and people. A state-of-the-art studio with all the latest shiny tech spread over a 20,000 sq ft area in Noida serves as the hub from which both young and seasoned anchors beam out news and views day-in-day-out. An army of 4,000 reporters nationally beat the streets scouting for developments. Jagyasi says the goal is to expand this even more and have a reporter in every constituency.

A slew of digital platforms, including a brand-new website and social media platforms, complete the initial debut offering for viewers of Bharat24.

“News and information come naturally to us. With our network strength, we are delivering over 1000 original significant news stories from across the nation. We are also the first national news channel to launch with augmented-reality-enabled studios to deliver clean, clutter-free enhanced audio-visual content on-air,” expounds Jagyasi.

The focus, since flag-off, has been on public interest stories like the impact of the increased rate of interest on FD’s or an awareness campaign on sharing a person’s location and other personal information through mobile apps. “Such stories which have a direct impact on viewers are regularly showcased on the channel,” he narrates.

A high-impact marketing campaign and distribution drive has resulted in Bharat24 being available on most DTH platforms like Tata Play, Airtel DTH, Dish and several other large MSOs nationally. The messaging across all B2C and B2B touchpoints in key markets have been “Jahan Tak Bharat, Wahan Tak Bharat24” with the Bharat24 tagline being “A vision of New India.”

”It was important for us to be present across all key DTH and MSOs so that the discerning Hindi news viewers have the opportunity to sample a new news channel which resonates with their evolving needs. We are also focussed on connected TV and online platforms such as Jio,” he discloses.

While Jigyasi and the team are happy about what has been achieved so far, he is loath to go into further details. “It is still early to gain the overall feedback for a news channel that is just over a month old, but it is exciting and assuring to witness the buzz and excitement among viewers,” he postulates.

But he is quite sanguine that things can only get better from here on thanks to the right blend of young and experienced passionate professionals who have been recruited for the sales and revenue teams.

“They understand the TV news business not only from the revenue point of view but also has a perspective on news content. We are confident in offering a wide range of customized media solutions catering to the evolving market demands. We remain focused on the growth of our TV and digital ventures and are committed to adding value to the clients who choose to advertise with us,” he highlights.

Advertisers and media agencies are listening to his pitch and have given the thumbs-up to Bharat24. Within 24 days of its launch, over 24 clients had signed up. And within a month Bharat 24’s roster boasts more than 35 advertising clients.

More are expected to board the channel’s bus, Jagyasi says, with a few big, customized deals being worked on with clients from Delhi and Mumbai.

“We are already witnessing a huge interest for the upcoming festive season and assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The channel is also working on various big-ticket IP’s that will be announced soon enough,” he discloses.

Clearly, Jagyasi and team Bharat24 have begun their journey into the TV news race well. How they do over the next stretch of the track, will determine whether Bharat24 really lives up to its promise.  

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