With the general elections due in 2014, major news channels have already begun their pre-election campaigns.
NDTV’s ongoing recent campaign, where the lead presenters of the channel (Hindi & English) are discussing the election strategies among themselves is being aired regularly.
ABP News, with its property ‘Kaun Banega Mukhyamantri’, generated quite a buzz during the recent State Assembly elections. As per TAM data, the channel was at the top position in the HSM market on the counting day of the recently concluded state elections. Reportedly, the channel has decided to tap 28 media agencies to understand the outlook of the 2014 general elections.
India News’ flagship property, ‘Kissa Kursi Kaa’, is also expected to play a pivotal role for the channel in the forthcoming elections. Meanwhile, Times Now and CNN-IBN, too, have come out with self-promotion ad campaigns.
“Broadcast media in particular has become more cluttered and competitive. There are more than 100 news channels in India, including regional channels. Therefore, gaining traction has become as important as other brands in other industry. Political interests or affiliations for that matter co-exist and that is sacrosanct for some,” observed Amit Patil, a media analyst at Angel Broking.
The 2014 Lok Sabha elections are being eyed with much interest following the massive uprising of public demonstrations and demand for accountability. In addition to this, social media has made democracy more vibrant and given people a chance to voice their opinions. Aam Aadmi Party’s emphatic win in the Delhi elections has stirred up the political cauldron like never before, making people take an active interest in the electoral and decision making process.
While political coverage is a staple of news channels, this time youth-focussed channel MTV, too, is capitalising on the election sentiment and has launched a campaign called ‘Rock the Vote’. In an environment where most of the politicians talk about involving the youth and targeting their ambitions, the channel has utilised this opportunity.
According to MTV, the ‘Rock the Vote’ campaign is aimed at engaging the youth in the electoral process and making voting “cool”. Incidentally, Rock the Vote is an American non-profit organisation with which MTV works internationally too.
‘Controlling the media’
During elections, channels and their respective opinion polls have been repeatedly criticised by the administration for their link-ups and ties with the political establishment. Various agencies were also used by media houses in the recently concluded state elections for their exit polls, which include C Voter, Neilson, Hansa Research, and CSDS, among others. On the other hand, various political parties have been blamed for managing the media to work in their favour.