2008 is a year most in the media industry won’t want to see a repeat of. Hike in newsprint cost, economic slowdown, the FWICE versus producers row, being stuck with repeat programmes, the Mumbai terror attacks and the I&B Ministry cracking the whip over the terror coverage by news channels. But the media industry is not about to give up and is confident that things will look up in 2009 as all hope for peaceful times.
Tapas Sen, Programming Head, Radio Mirchi, is quite emphatic when he says that in 2008 all bad things condensed into one. “Terror attacks, global economy, falling Sensex – everything possibly went wrong. At Radio Mirchi, we observed that ‘Do Hazaar Aath (2008) has actually become Do Hazaar Vaat’ and hope that ‘Do Hazaar Nau (2009) should not be Do Hazaar What?’” he adds.
Sheena Saji, Head – Marketing, DNA, observes, “Christmas and New Year is such a joyous time, but today all Indians are fearful, and are aware and conscious about their safety.” “At DNA, we have started an initiative called E&Y (Eyes and Ears) of Mumbai, where we are calling all citizens to take responsible action. In this initiative, DNA facilitates help from authorities. DNA has also filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court asking for the police to be better equipped to protect the public,” Saji adds.
Sounding more positive, Neville Bastawala, Head – Marketing, Mid-Day Infomedia Ltd, believes that despite the terror attacks everyone will stand strong and move along in a more positive manner. “Keeping a positive outlook at Mid-Day, we have launched Season 2 of our property called ‘Happy Hours at Work’, where we organise office parties for corporate executives with the concept ‘Make Work Fun’,” he adds. Bastawala, however, admits that living in the Taj neighborhood and witnessing terror attacks first hand is not going to be an easy experience to forget as no one slept in the area for three nights during the attack period.
Errick D’Suuza, National Head - Ad Sales, Readers Digest, prays for courage, peace for the country and human mind, and says that normally Christmas is celebration time, but this time the mood is despondent. He is looking at it as more of a religious sentiment. He, however, believes that things will only get better and the economy will rebound. D’Souza stresses that media should highlight positivity out of the negative situations of late.
Neel Roy Chowdhury, VP – Marketing, CNBC, prays for a happy and prosperous 2009 for everyone, a year that will brings cheer to the industry and the world. He feels that the media industry should scale higher peaks than it has in its bull run three years’ back.
Anupama Mandloi Senior Creative Director, Star Plus, informs, “This year, we don’t have a high decibel celebration on the channel in keeping with the general environment today, but we do have a couple of events designed to entertain viewers. On December 27, at 9 pm we have the Idea ITA Awards and on December 31, we have the police event scheduled at 10 pm. This event was shot before the terror attacks in Mumbai and is generally held in honour of the police force and their families when the entertainment industry comes together.”
Saurabh Kanwar, VP - Content & Communication, Channel [v], too, says that the festive spirits are muted at Channel [v] in reflection of the current times. “We have initiated on air actionable issues like ‘Youth Parliament’ and ‘Vote Ya Vaat’ with the aim to equip youth with right information and ways,” Kanwar says, adding that for the channel, it is a tight rope walk of responsibility without gimmicky advantage.
Speaking about her channel’s offering for kids during Christmas, Nina Jaipuria Elavia, Senior VP & GM, Nick India, says, “For kids, Christmas is all about family, fun and gifts. This vacation, Nick has planned a very special Christmas for all its Nicksters. With the launch of a new show, interactive contests, exciting on-ground events and lots of goodies coming their way, I wish them all an unforgettable Christmas.”