With the Lok Sabha elections just a few days away, poll-related coverage on TV channels has reached a crescendo. Regional news channels in the South, too, have come up with an exhaustive content line-up to cover every facet of the polls. exchange4media takes a look at what’s in store.
Malayalam news channel Asianet News has introduced a new set of programmes focusing on the elections. Asianet News has launched programmes like ‘Cover Story’ focusing on social and political events and exposing the truth behind those incidents and statements. ‘Porkalam’ has the format of an open fight where different party candidates of the Kerala constituencies come face to face with the public. ‘Zero Hour’ focuses on the qualities and qualifications of former Parliamentarians. Each episode introduces the MPs and the ministers and the work done or not done by them in their constituencies.
Speaking on the importance of regional news coverage and their impact vis-à-vis national news channels, TN Gopakumar, Group Editor, Asianet News, said, “In states like Kerala, viewers come to us even on national or international developments. National news channels do a have a presence, but ratings show that people have stayed with us on major national events and elections are no exception. Each Indian state is different, and here in Kerala, we have a stronger impact and reach than the national news channels.”
Newly-launched Tamil news channel Seithigal from the Kalaignar TV bouquet has also introduced new programmes to capture the local flavour of the elections. ‘Sonnadhum Seydhadhum’ will see reporters going to various constituencies to find out the development work carried out in those areas by the sitting MPs.
‘Vivadhipom’ discusses the performance of various political parties in the past and present. This is an interactive programme with political and non-political personalities discussing various aspects of the current political scenario. ‘Ungal Mudivu 09’ is another election-related programme that is run on its GEC Kalaignar TV.
The fact that each Indian state has its own individual flavour and stake in the country’s general elections make it necessary for the regional channels to innovate local and relevant content. How far the regional channels are able to cash in on that local aspect is a matter of interesting watch.