Monday, April 23, 2007

INX to launch India’s first 24X7 English news channel

At every seminar or forum on media or television, one question is sure to pop up during the proceedings: Is there room for the zillions of channels that will launch in the next year?
On many of the genres, I have my doubts – and I am certain top lines and bottom lines will be affected for current as well as future players.
When it comes to new English news channels, I have no such fears.
Because the genre does not exist.

When STAR launched their 24X7 news channel with NDTV, I saw it as a breath of fresh air. I loved the BBC (I still do) but it could never deliver all that I wanted in the Indian context (it still doesn’t).
And when the channel became NDTV 24X7 when Dr Roy terminated the relationship with STAR, I was still an avid, frequent and loyal consumer.
When Rajdeep Sardesai left NDTV to launch CNN IBN, and almost simultaneously Times Now hit the airwaves, I suffered an embarrassment of riches – three English news channels to choose from.
Now, a little over a year since we have had local “English” news channels, I discover I have none at all. I am now a pauper, rather than one suffering from the embarrassment of riches that I described earlier.
Because none of the existing players – none—cares a whit for the quality of English when it comes to the majority of their reporters and stringers.
So police becomes puliss, privilege becomes previlage, and so on.
Reporters routinely struggle to string together a coherent sentence in English, and one can almost see the studio anchors wondering what on earth is happening.
A significant proportion of the conversations and interviews is in Hindi or in other Indian languages – and that’s fine, in a country like India. But, during such interviews, could the quality of subtitling be of a quality that passes muster?
No, feel the channels.
So we have reporters who struggle to speak in English, and subtiltles in a language that can only be described as undecipherable.
That’s why INX will have no struggle when they seek a niche in the English news space. Why a niche? When there’s no one else on the firmament, they can have the whole pie to themselves.


Trilokjit said...

Anant, the suffering has been intolerable. Though I still believe, that NDTV 24x7 manages to deliver what others are struggling with, I think the problem lies elsewhere.

With the recent uprising of 'News' Channels suddenly we find ourselves a nation where 'Journalism' or to be politically correct 'Broadcast Journalism', has almost upstaged Management as a career.

The thing is, there aren't enough good institutes to train these so called students in this vey fine medium.

And the results are for us to squint and bear. They are incapable of the basics. Terrible enunciation, morbid voice modulation and an utter lack of context.

Responsibility, possibly the most important of all, is replaced by mere sensationalism. Because if you don't 'Break' a news, you are slightly more important to me than a chopstick.

Even if INX is to create a niche, a difference, for the educated quality-starved middle class, where do they get the resources from?

Anant Rangaswami said...


The resources are out there -- the problem, I believe, is in the recruitment process. The fundamental skill one MUST possess before being hired in any editorial function in an English news product is a command on the language. Every other skill comes later in the pecking order.
This morning, for example, CNN-IBN told me on a headline that the cricket fans in the country were "UNGREATFUL" to Sachin. Wow.

sharad said...

Hi! Anant
I confess, I chanced upon ur blog while surfing info about NDTV. In a crowded world like that of India and that too with many languagaes, sensationalisation is what brings the eyeballs, and the moolaah. Like discerning clients, discerning viewers too are very less in numbers who are entangled in their fight for daily bread and global competition. Amidst all this, what TV channels in India offers is all what it can, with the available talent - whatever that may be. Influx of more TV channels, and with rising PPP - purchasing power parity - the discerning eyeballs would clear the clutter.
And the 1st part of ur profile "I don't know too much about myself; I've spent my whole life trying to figure it out" is the crux of an evolving fine human being contributing to the profession he/she loves.

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