Pritha Mitra

News channels need to be focussed and distinctive to survive competition

Media planners are of the opinion that news channels need to experiment and be innovative with their programming to maintain pace of growth

A few years ago, there was a boom in the genre of news television as the number of channels increased. Inspired by this success, there are a few more channels that are waiting to go on air by the end of this year. But is the market big enough to accommodate more channels as the total number of channels crosses the 30-mark?

When agencyfaqs! spoke to a few media planners and buyers, they were unanimous about the fact that it was increasing profit margins that was inspiring the new players. They are also of the opinion that the news channels need to experiment and be more innovative.

As Sandip Tarkas, chief executive, Media Direction, says, “Over the years, news channels, as a genre, have proved to be exceptionally profitable. This is the primary reason why India will witness the launch of many new channels in this segment in the coming months.”

Tarkas feels that the current boom will only increase the number of specialised news channels and that even the existing players will have to concentrate on niche areas. He says, “In order to survive in this growing competition, the news channels need to be more focussed, they need to try to be distinctive.”

Basabdutta Chowdhuri, COO, Madison Media Plus, feels that viewers are completely stuffed with the innumerable news channels. She says, “Although the fact remains that news will always be the same across all the channels, there is still scope for experimentation. Today, there is very little variety in the flavour that’s being served across news channels.”

Chowdhuri offers a piece of advice: “The Hindi news channels are rather crowded. They should dissect the information and concentrate more on delivering specialised news such as business, sports and entertainment.”

Harish Shriyan, president, MediaCom, feels that the future lies in regional channels. He says, “Regional news channels have always had a huge demand and garnered huge profits. This genre of news channels will only grow further in the near future.”

Choudhuri of Madison Media Plus concludes: “News channels will keep on emerging, but at the end of the day, only three to four channels will continue to survive and do well in the real sense.”

© 2005 agencyfaqs!