afaqs! news bureau

What role does breaking news play in the business of running a news channel?

At the first edition of afaqs! The Future of News Conference & Awards, the panellists discussed the revenue perspective of breaking news on television channels.

The promise of delivering the news first is a key differentiator for many channels to stand out from the competition.

During the first edition of The Future of News Conference & Awards, curated by afaqs!, the panellists discussed whether breaking news is an asset or a limitation. As consumers are evolving, are they just looking at speed or do they prefer an analytical approach by a news network? 

The session was moderated by Venkata Susmita Biswas, executive editor, afaqs!. 

The panellists were: 

Anup Vishwanathan, executive vice president, network brand strategy, Times Network

Manoj Jagyasi, chief business officer and strategic advisor to the board, Bharat24

Sudipto Chowdhuri, chief revenue officer, India TV

Every news network defines breaking news differently. Vishwanathan said, “Fundamentally, breaking news is important for the English segment. We’re talking to an influential India and there's a certain amount of value that people seek in knowing things faster. Breaking news quotient segment in Hindi news channel audience is that they don't know much about values, but are looking to know mass interest subjects as quickly as possible, which also has a bigger significance.” 

“It could be the news of a new chief minister or a death. Such news has a huge significance for the audience. Depending on how the breaking news becomes relevant and important is different for different types of audiences.” 

Launched on August 15, 2022, Bharat24 was the youngest channel on the panel. Jagyasi mentioned, “Right now, we are not in the race of chasing those rating points, but eventually we will have to. At Bharat24, we're aware that every news on the network can’t be breaking news. We have segmented the news in two parameters, i.e., breaking news and nayi khabar.” 

“In a day, we break around 1,000-1,200 stories, and 30% of the space is occupied by breaking news. There are 200 stories that are totally exclusive to us, as we have around 4,000 reporters on the ground.”  

India TV’s Chowdhuri said, “The quality of a network's news is important. If the movie Brahmāstra has crossed a particular figure, that news can be delayed by an hour. But if there is a news about an earthquake that can’t be delayed for even two minutes, that’s the news aspect of it.”

“Advertisers aren't bothered if the network is breaking 123 or 256 news. They're bothered about the consistency of the channel, and how their content is delivered on the platform. They’re concerned about the brand spots executed in the right way because, as a brand, they would like to see their brand in a particular environment. An advertiser is concerned about whether spots are being equally placed or not.”

When asked if the advertiser also looks at the network's content, Jagyasi mentioned, “We are 100 days old and 100 brands are running ads on our channel despite the fact that ratings are still not out. In our case, the advertisers are themselves the viewers of the channel.” 

“At the time of the deal, ratings are important, but an advertiser's gut feeling also plays a role. The advertisers have their own liking/disliking, as far as channels go. Whenever we meet advertisers, they are concerned about what’s happening in the news world and less bothered about the effective rates. We need to understand that the advertiser is also a viewer of the channel.” 

What role does breaking news play in the business of running a news channel?

In his closing remarks, Chowdhuri said, “Advertisers have no right to talk about the content, just like we don't have the choice to tell any brand about their business. We shouldn't even allow them to talk about the content of the network. They can talk about deliveries, execution of the spots and time spent on the ads. ”   

You can watch the full panel discussion below:

News18 presents The Future of News Conference is powered by Public App. The platinum sponsor is ABP Live, knowledge partner is Nielsen, and live streaming partner is 24 Frames Digital.

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