While surfing Hindi news channels, one can't help but notice the visible clutter of astrology and crime based shows. Almost all channels have shows based on astrology and crime. Network 18's Hindi news channel, IBN 7, has decided to stand out from the clutter and offer regular news to its viewers. As a first step, beginning February 16, the channel will remove astrology and crime based shows from its offerings.
Till sometime ago, IBN 7 boasted of two dedicated shows in similar categories, called Bhavishya (Future), an astrology-based show running since Jan 1, 2007; and Criminal, launched in June 5, 2006 and adjudged the Best Crime Show of 2007-08 at the News Television Awards, 2008. While Bhavishya was discontinued three months ago, Criminal will be taken off the air from February 16.
to afaqs!, Dilip Venkatraman, chief marketing officer, IBN Network, and chief operating officer, IBN Focus, says, "The decision of doing away with astrology and crime based shows is based on our internal research that proves that viewers of IBN 7 are more interested in consuming hardcore regular news. The idea as such is not to attach too much importance to the genres of astrology and crime."
Venkatraman emphasises that the channel is in no way making a moral statement by doing away with these shows. The channel is also not in denial of the fact that lately, these two subjects have caught the imagination of the Indian viewers. He adds, "It's just that we will not give prime time importance to the two genres but will continue to take up news related to crime or will continue to rely on well investigated crime stories as and when the subject demands."
There will clearly be no appointment viewing for the audience of astrology and crime shows. Venkatraman informs that to entertain the audience, the channel will replace the crime show with another favourite genre - sports.
Beginning February 16, viewers will be treated to a new sports show called Free Hit. The show promises to be an interactive cricket based offering. The show will have three segments - Power Play, discussing the top cricketing news of the day; Super Over, which will take some stand or opinion on the subject discussed; and Dug Out, which will bring in dressing room news involving the cricketers.