It couldn't have come at a better time. Even as competition for roving eyeballs is set to reach a new high with the launch of three national news channels in the next few days (Sahara Samay Rashtriya, the national news channel from the Sahara group, will go on-air on March 28 coupled with six city-centric channels in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, while NDTV India and NDTV 24X7 will be launched on March 31), old warhorse and pioneer ZEE News has effected a change in its look as of today, which the top brass hopes will be "appreciated by viewers".
"A channel requires freshness every now and again," explains Laxmi Goel, director, news group, ZEE Network. "This initiative is aimed at providing just that apart from keeping up with the technological advancements in the field," he states.
What the channel sports is a new identity, graphics and promos complemented by a novel signature tune. The studio environment or "real set" has also been refurbished in keeping with current trends.
"A newsroom with automation has been positioned behind the real set to give an authentic feel to the viewer," says Goel, which means that apart from providing "visual appeal", ZEE News has also automated the newsgathering process making it quicker and easier to telecast updates. "Editing will be online," states Geol. "The correspondent can simply store and forward his story via VSAT or leased line with graphics attached, and editing can then be handled online," he states. Not to mention the increase in "archival value" of stories with the ability to store them for up to 2,000 hours on the server, thus avoiding the cumbersome procedure of storage on Beta or DV Cam tapes.
Incidentally, the last time ZEE News went in for an image overhaul was around a year ago, but the current initiative is mammoth considering that the new look and the automation process have happened simultaneously. "News requires constant updates making it imperative to invest in newer technology," informs Goel. "I am hopeful that the new look will be appreciated by viewers," he adds.
Apart from the new look, which took a month-and-a-half to execute and was primarily handled in-house, the channel is also gearing up for the launch of two new programmes titled Crime File and Zee Follow-up in the month of May. The first, as the name suggests, is a crime-based show while the latter is an ambitious programme aimed at tackling "unresolved issues" such as pending court cases or controversies. © 2003 agencyfaqs!