In Perspective: Going beyond the personality cult

Published: October 27, 2015 12:29:27 AM

English news channels continue to maintain status quo (and this is expected to continue), with the clear leader maintaining its distinct gap from the nearest number 2— week on week.

English news channels continue to maintain status quo (and this is expected to continue), with the clear leader maintaining its distinct gap from the nearest number 2— week on week.

One could further dice the genre along three different planes:
a) Two broad sub-genres of normal English news channels and English business channels, which could both be variedly used in a plan construct.
b) On another plane, there could be the divisions done on basic perceived differences of ‘reading the news’ and analysing the same news with opinionated undertones.
c) Third, the respective political affiliations or the perceived one (if there be none), also seem to be points of viewing contentions and fuel for public discussions at large, across all mediums.

Most English news channels do not seem to make money currently, given the heavier outflow in distribution but with the next round of digitisation on the cards, one can expect some relief in balancing out the same. The sooner they realise that their own playground also involves non-TV seriously, the better for them. Much like a newspaper habit, the choice is somewhat skewed to a particular channel of preference though zapping is very much out in the offing.

For some channels, it almost stretches to take on megalomaniac proportions with the channel ending up—probably by design—being synonymous with the face of a newsreader.

There’s also an increasing tribe of people (though small) who are exposed to foreign shores, and they want to also catch Indian news from a foreign news channel like BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera etc—for a different perspective.

With content being proliferated, there is space for this genre to sustain itself in the future by emphasising, most importantly, content strategies— taking an almost high-ground approach of a medium-agnostic content provider.

Content is here to stay and so it is very important for this medium to ride the wave carefully. In the next few years, I see relevant and/or topical newsworthy medium-agnostic content being disseminated by this genre only. Each channel needs to be open about adapting to the way consumers are now absorbing news from multiple sources and the opportunity lies in ensuring a multi-media presence.

The key challenge in their growth  would be a failure to balance between the market-required news sensationalism and the signature channel offerings, agnostic of medium.

In ensuring the balance, the genre is expected to dwell on its own sustenance model. “Ay, there’s the rub”, as Shakespeare put it.

By Kiran Konsam

The author is principal partner, Mindshare

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