SINGAPORE: ‘Winning in Asia’ is the theme of the ongoing AdAsia here. In keeping with that, the Channel News Asia experience was taken up as a case study for ‘Marketing an Asian Brand to Asia’ today.
Said Shaun Seow, Deputy Group CEO, MediaCorp Singapore, which runs Channel News Asia, “The idea for this channel was born during the financial crisis of the mid-90s. We wanted to run a news channel on Asia with Asian perspectives, something that views news developments and prioritises news with an Asian point of view in contrast to international television broadcasters, who have a very different perspective.”
As an instance, Seow brought up the coverage by international news channels of the Iraq war – “they went ballistic with that”. From there he went on to the positioning of Channel News Asia. “Around the same time, our part of the world was hit by SARS. In our prioritisation of news, quite obviously SARS took centrestage. And that is what positioning is all about – projecting the right perspectives on news of immediate relevance to our region,” he added.
However, Seow said that the channel had to overcome “Asian prejudice to an Asian brand like Channel News Asia had to face initially”.
Pradeep Guha, CEO, Zee Telefilms, was of the opinion that “for the news format there is enough width and space for different brands to co-exist.” As he said, it was more an issue of pay versus free-to-air. “Also, news itself has to be seen and produced as entertainment for a brand to succeed,” he added.
Seow held a somewhat different view on the issue of news being entertainment. Rather, advertisers preferred channels that provided a “better fit with their brands”, and this was what could tilt the scales, he remarked.
So, how does the Channel News Asia experiment go forward? Said Seow, “Do not judge us through the lenses of international channels. And we will carve out blocks within Asia for better focus and positioning. We will increase the number of feeds to cater to the different Asian markets, but we will ensure that our focus and perspectives remain very Asian.”