News channels ride on 'fast speed' to attract viewers

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 22, 2010
News channels are creating speedy news capsules as an integral part of the overall content mix.

In a bid to keep pace with the fast, on-the-move life of their urban audience, news channels across the industry are creating speedy news capsules as an integral part of the overall content mix.

While it was Zee News that pioneered the idea with its News Top 10 property; today, nearly every news channel carries such capsules to keep the viewers abreast with the latest news across the day.

Broadcasters and media observers believe that such content gives a crisper update of happenings round the clock to the audience, thereby providing spikes in channel viewership.

Says Bhushan Khot, business head (Zee 24 Taas), Zee News, "There are certain target groups, who do not have the time or inclination to go through long news bulletins and want a quick shot at the major happenings at that particular day or time. The need is to take care of all types of audience, who are either regular or frequent viewers of a particular news channel."

Thus, such capsules help in not missing out on target groups, who are interested in speedy bulletins or spend less time on the news channel, he says.

According to Amit Ray, president and COO, Lintas Media Group, in addition to the traditional news format -- bulletins -- across news channels, the audience is also exposed to other formats, such as mobile and the internet.

"And these formats produce information for the audience in a much crisper manner to feed their increased news appetite. People today have a very short memory span; they want to keep themselves updated and do not want much analysis. This is where such news capsules create their own viewers," he says.

From the advertisers' point of view too, such capsules are a great pull for their target audience.

A top media executive says, on condition of anonymity, that such formats are a good branding opportunity for companies. Thus, many advertisers are interested in sponsorship deals for these news capsules.

However, while many believe that such content is the need of the hour to pull in the ever-surfing viewers; there are a few who believe that the existence of the same format across channels only proves the dearth of innovation.

Arnab Goswami, managing editor, Times Now, says, "This is one of the oldest ways of showing news to the viewers. And there is nothing fresh in it. This also shows that there is a dearth of innovation in the industry."

Another top broadcaster, on condition of anonymity, opines, "While Zee had started it once, today there is an overcrowding of such content. And to keep audiences hooked onto the channel, innovative ideas have to drop in."

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