News is getting diluted and sensationalized across the board. Not only the national channels, even regional players are doing so. A prominent player in Karnataka, sometimes contest with the general entertainment channels in the market. At 10 PM, the news channel shows a property that directly competes with GECs for viewers attention. TRPs is what drives the broadcast business. Since we are here to make profitability, we closely follow numbers and viewership patterns. I don`t see any harm in doing that.
Anup Chandrasekhar, Business Head, Suvarna TV (114)(51)
Sensationalization of news has been happening for quite some time now. News is presented in such a manner to garner eyeballs. Consuming news is a form of habit. A specific news personality is followed widely, he moves channels and so does the viewers who follow him. You have your organic followers, it is to get the spike from inorganic followers that you resort to presenting news in a different-than-normal fashion. It`s not that sensationalization is only happening in TV news, it`s happening across the platforms print and online included. There`s so much of clutter and noise in the market because of which the viewer exercise selective hearing, therefore to catch the attention news channels have to hype and present the news differently.
Mohit Sainani, Head Marketing, MiD DAY (68)(58)
Absolutely yes!, news on television has got diluted today. Sensationalism sells and the news is a hunt of catching more eyeballs and creating stickiness. More than the news, the people`s views their emotions the repercussions are all given airtime. Reporting of actual facts has taken a back seat today. The trend is even more alarming in regional channels. Channels down south are even worse than the Hindi news players. We can`t say that the viewers demand such content. The fact is that they are getting such rotten content from one player after another, they have no choice. Since others are following the trend, I need to follow it too lest I will be left behind. English news channels used to stay away from sensationalism but now the malaise is spreading across the spectrum.
Venke Sharma, Senior Vice President and Director, Arc Worldwide (90)(50)
For 24 hour news channels, certain amount of dilution of content is inevitable. Content is not getting entertaining and is being sensationalized keeping in mind the viewers` preferences. For any news channel, commercial compulsions are also present. Everybody is keenly tuned to TV today, I strongly feel that leave it to the viewer to decide what is news and what is not. He/she will decide eventually, what content works, which channel to stick to and which one to leave.
Varghese Chandy, Senior General Manager (Marketing Operations), Malayala Manorama (69)(50)
There is no news on television at all. The channels keep on repeating the same news throughout the day. It`s high time that something is done for content on TV news channels. If I don`t get anything commendable on any news channel I switch to FOX History or Discovery, at least they disseminate useful information.
Monica Nayyer Pattanaik, Joint Managing Director, Eastern Media Ltd. (67)(42)
"Disgusting is the one word I can say about the content being offered by Hindi News Channels these days. I have led a news channel too but a decade back when television news was such a serious business that it was rapidly becoming challenging for the newspapers. But after a few years, I felt that the news channels will surrender before the newspapers soon because they started losing their focus for short term goals. Now people watch news channels for updates only. The news has taken a new place on the channels and that is the ticker running below the TV screen. Being an optimistic person, I believe they will make a comeback. I do believe that Good TV can change the world and the channels too can change themselves before it’s too late."
Shashi Shekhar, Editor-in-chief, Hindustan (56)(52)
"See, as long as numbers come in - or as long as there is desperation to build numbers whatever be the means - I reckon there will always be advocates and practitioners for over-trivialized content on "news"-channels. Unfortunate, but true. But in a logical evolution, an astute balancing of content between news and non-news will without doubt build long-term respect and buyability for such a channel."
Sanjay Bahadur, President, Marke Cerebre (55)(41)
"Hindi TV news channels are news entertainment channels and not news journalism channels. The dilution of news has been quietly going on for sometime, it is out in the open now. As a viewer instead of getting unnerved, I just switch to other channels."
Agnello Dias, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, TapRoot India (59)(42)
"TV news channels do not have much content anyway. They are looking at differentiated content. For differentiated content they have to make content. In the race of becoming unique, most of the news channels today have more masala than news."
Navin Khemka, Senior Vice President, ZenithOptimedia (52)(39)
"Hindi news channels say what has already been said by others, they don`t take a stance. The`ve lost their voice. TV news today is a dumbed-down version of 24X7 news reporting phenomenon today".
A.S. Raghunath, Independent media consultant (50)(36)
Hindi news channels showing non-news content is an unhealthy trend. They should be focussing just on news. Except one or two channels, everybody is in the business of trivialising the news. As newspapers express different opinions through the editorials, TV news should also be about rich content. Running after TRPs and not giving any consideration to quality content is not a long-term operational strategy for TV channels.
P K Tewari, CMD, Mahuaa Media Pvt. Ltd. (55)(34)
While I am aware of the phenomenon of the trivialisation and dilution of news,
I don`t really follow Hindi news channels too closely. Time bands like the prime time, the morning hour or the afternoon band have all started diminishing, they have no relevance today. Remember the Doordarshan days when we switched for the 9`o clock news and watched it together? Not any longer. People are getting news on the go, we have several sources of news today. Consumption is happening on demand, whether it is through TV, Internet or mobile phone.
Nitin Mathur, Senior Director Marketing, Yahoo! (49)(39)
TV viewing is growing in India consistently. Audience is the king and drives the content. The numbers speak for themselves. News in India is sensational. The way we Indians live our lives is different from many other countries. The way we behave, the way we dress, our food our entertainment, everything is different. BBC style of presenting news will not fly in India, neither will it vice versa.
Aditya Swamy, Channel Head, MTV India (48)(35)
I don`t agree with the notion that dilution of news is a current trend. It has been happening from quite sometime now. Haven`t we been witnessing Rakhi Sawants and the Rahul Mahajans on primetime news since last so many years?
Nandini Dias, Chief Operating Officer, Lodestar Universal (53)(38)
The line between news and entertainment has blurred totally on TV. IF ever the consumer stops reacting to ‘sensationalism’ the news channels will go back to being ‘news worthy’. News needs to be ‘talk worthy’ in this day and age. As we have seen in other countries, the desire to gobble up ‘newsyness’ be it TV or social network generated bravado is directly related to a society using ‘happenings around them’ to stay connected to other people. One man’s triviality is another man’s ‘ability to stay connected with others’. But radio followed by print will always be more ‘credible’ as a truer version of NEWS.
Vineet Singh Hukmani, Managing Director, Radio One (46)(38)
Credible and relevant content is important as it influences minds of the audience and provides top of the mind recall. We have seen a direct correlation of news content during prime time and traffic/sales on the website during IPL. The content depends from channel to channel. Some channels broadcast serious new content and treat news serious. Whereas there are some those try to sensationalize every event or happening. As a brand, we look forward to associate with channels that broadcast serious news.
Mr. Mukesh Bansal, CEO, (47)(38)
Time is at a premium everywhere. It’s not just news channels that are racing against the clock, most people live their lives the same way. Therefore, prime time news hour needs to have serious content telling a viewer what’s happening across the world. I think most news channels do a pretty good job of bringing the news-making items of a particular day to viewers, accompanied with discussions across forums that provide a comprehensive perspective. What affects a channel’s credibility is its need to push its own views, which is unacceptable. A news channel is meant to report all the facts and let a viewer draw his own conclusions.
Shailen Amin, CEO and Co-Founder of BeStylish (48)(35)
News that is shocking or hyped has value. If the public is particularly interested, then topics should be covered. However, there are many more serious topics which affect all of us in society that do not get enough coverage because they are more dry and less sensational. Truly effective journalism is not only presenting the truth on serious topics, but it is doing so in a way that is meaningful and interesting to the public. This is the challenge and opportunity to make a real impact and educate the public.
Valerie Rozycki, CEO, ZipDial (45)(36)
This can be attributed to the factor as we are living in the days of TRP, running a news channel is also a business and like any business profit is the ultimate aim of the investors. If we notice most of the news channels are owned by a group who in-turn have investors. In the race to have more advertising they need more eye balls, thus the need to hype events, which is the easiest way to grab quick eye balls. Here what is needed is a better and a more transparent public broadcasting network which is not in the business for profit but is built on the ethics of giving information. Unfortunately Doordarshan which was supposed to fill this gap has become a govt. mouth piece. Now till the time either the Govt. or some big business house can set up such a institution we will have to rely on the internet for quality news.
Dushyant Mehta, CEO, India Pictures (55)(38)
"In my view something like this diffuses your core proposition. So any offering any service or any genre for that matter has to be very laser targeted in terms of what we want to offer as an offerer to the viewer. In my view you are better off looking at you core area of expertise which is providing news and presenting news. Given the fact that you are kind of introducing these elements which are lighting the mode or giving viewers a much needed break from the hard news possibly end up diffusing their core proposition. There`s nothing wrong in chasing TRPs. Because ultimately you are not running it for charity, you are running a business model. We better off monetize our core value proposition rather than bringing in an additional element which diffuses your core proposition. Competition is tough in international market also but they don`t diffuse their core proposition. "
Subhrangshu Neogi, Director - Brand & Corporate Communications, Religare Enterprises Limited (63)(42)
"Wiki defines the news as "Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events." Technically therefore any event of a current and noteworthy nature does get classified as news. Over the years, news has gone beyond the ambit of political and economic reportage, and sports, to cover many more societal aspects including the entertainment sphere. I don`t think this is a bad thing. Times have changed and we must move on with the times in order to stay relevant to our consumers. I would not place astrology and reality shows as news, but comedy is an editorial treatment not a genre, so if there is a humorous show featuring current events like The Week that Wasn`t, then it qualifies."
Navin Khemka, Senior Vice President, ZenithOptimedia (51)(37)
"They say people get the government they deserve. Similarly we get the news channels we deserve. As long as news channels are dependent on advertising revenue for their success and not subscription revenue, programming will be dependant on what masses want to watch and not what editors (with discerning tastes, hopefully) believe what the nation should be fed upon."
Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, MADISON WORLD. (53)(32)
"With the hyper fragmentation and too many `me-too` channels and genres what is differentiating the good from the others is content and we as media consultants value the audience loyalty of a channel very much. Even the advertisers look for loyal viewers so that their communication has higher probability of connecting with the audience."
Mohit Joshi, Managing Partner, MPG India. (52)(35)
"I’d like to watch news in the name of news whatever the timing is. Exploring or inventing is in human nature hence it should only enhance the way of presenting the news. If you go out of news and still call it a news program, your audience will reject you. If people watch your program based on comedy or reality shows clips, that does not mean that they are watching you as a news channel at the given time. And losing this status among audience on regular basis certainly ruins your credibility."
Smeeta Chakrabarti, CEO, NDTV Life Style Ltd. (51)(33)
"Deviation from the core news is not going to benefit the channels in the long run. Rather it hits the credibility of the news channels. The viewers who understand English must have shifted to the English news channels. Hindi news channels have started losing their impact these days and the English news channels are being credited for many big changes. If you are not being entertained by affluent or mature audience, even in smaller towns or villages, you are losing the value of your brand."
Bharat Kapadia, President of Lokmat Media Ltd. (59)(55)
"Comedy, reality etc. could be shown on News Channels in case it has some "News Value", else I feel it has no place on a news channel. And if it continues in its current form, it is not going to help the channels. Like a lot other things in this country, I`m sure there will be a correction in the news channels and we will start seeing a lot more of news on these channels."
Rahul Kulshreshtha, CEO, Wide Angle Films. (100)(37)
"I don’t see any big difference among the existing Hindi news channels. I accept that we look at the numbers while spending but at the same time we spend carefully and strategically. We spend huge on big news day and good news program on the channel with good reach and number. Now, the challenge is for the news channels whether they want to be in the race of TRPs at the cost of the revenue from just a few news slots."
Rajiv Dubey, Head-Media Investments at Dabur India. (54)(36)
"Competition, differentiation and quality news and content are the big challenges faced by Hindi news genre.

Differentiation first came in the form of “breaking news”, “brought to you first by”, “exclusively by” etc. Later, channels adopted a two prong strategy; not only to differentiate but also to add value to their advertisers leading to creation of 1-2 minuter value additions talking about the advertisers’ products/initiatives etc. Also, networks saw an opportunity in promoting their own programs to draw viewership to their network channels in the form of preview of their shows, integrations etc. These factors have led to a dilution of quality content and what news actually stood for. From an advertisers’ perspective, they perceive such channels to be frivolous!

Competition, both internal and external has clearly affected the genre. More and more people are resorting to alternate forms of news like news portals, sms, mobile apps which within easy reach nowadays.

These factors have led to the decreasing genre share from around 4.5% (2006) to 3.4% (2010).

Going forward, broadcasters do have a chance to get back to quality news and content as they have a high Power Ratio* (2.09) as compared to Hindi GECs and Hindi Movies (0.79 of and 0.38 respectively) however external competition remains a big threat in today’s social world.

* Power Ratio = Ad Revenue % / Viewership %"
Amol Mohandas, Associate Vice President, (109)(44)
"There is very little difference in the performance of the top two or three Hindi news channels. Planning parameters followed are TVR, Reach, Clutter Index & CPRP. On the qualitative side credible and differentiated content is important.

With the hyper fragmentation and too many ‘me-too’ Hindi news channels what is differentiating the good from the others is content and we as media consultants value the audience loyalty of a channel very much. Even the advertisers look for loyal viewers so that their communication has higher probability of connecting with the audience."
Vinish Joshi, Managing Partner, MediaCom India (63)(47)
"The news channels themselves are responsible. It’s the news channels that decided to dilute their ability to deliver news in an engaging manner, and invest in programming. They looked at easy way out, and do programming that costs next to nothing and try and get advertising revenue. Unfortunately it is hurting them and brands that are being advertised on them. They are sitting on a tinderbox that will explode.

The news channels have to decide which business they are in. If the viewer wants to watch soaps and gossip about soaps, they have a variety of channels and facebook and you tube and net forums. The last place an average viewer wants to catch soaps are news channels. I know the channels will quote that these programmes are successful, but have the channels ever evaluated the impact of such programmes on its brand equity? Does this not dilute its ability to deliver authenticity and believability? There is a serious crisis of trust that most news channels are facing, and they seem to fuel the flippant side of brand, rather than the authentic side."
Naresh Gupta, National Planning Director, India, Cheil Worldwide SW Asia. (55)(38)
"We as a nation like things slightly over the top approach in most of the cases. That’s the reason why Bollywood is growing day by day. Today, Rajnikant is more than a hero to millions! In day to day life, we want different things at different part of the day and if I`m watching cricket, I want to see them play some great cricketing shot/ cricket, I don’t expect them to be a Raju Srivastav or Jhony lever.

Similarly if I want to have nice south Indian food in a restaurant, you cannot just have a Silk-Smitha sort of a babe dancing in the restaurant with ugly food on table, given a choice I will walk out of the room. So, one need to understand what amount of importance should be given to food and followed by ambiance, so these days slowly channels are hiring more and more Silk-Smitha`s to run the restaurant with almost no cooks!

If I`m good at what I am, than I will never be like you/him because people/viewers like me, because they want to see me, the day I`m trying to be like him or her, it’s very clear that viewer are not liking you, so one needs to strengthen his strength than weaken yourself to be like him/her."
Santosh Padhi, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India. (47)(39)