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Hard news has put India TV on top: Rajat Sharma

25-May-2011
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Hard news has put India TV on top: Rajat Sharma

Almost a year back, India TV was leading the Hindi news genre before Aaj Tak came back to claim its place on top. And now India TV is ruling the ratings chart in the genre again.

According to TAM Media Research data, for the target CS 15+ in the Hindi speaking markets, while India TV has stayed on top for many weeks in 2011, for the last eight weeks consecutively, the channel has been on top.

Speaking to exchange4media, Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the channel, said, “What is perhaps most satisfying is that these numbers are coming from hard news reports. Whether it was the Osama Bin Laden coverage or Election Coverage or Cricket World Cup, it was the hard news stories that gave us numbers.”

The other thing delivering for the channel was its Speed News Bulletin. Sharma explained that the experience with Speed News Bulletin in the last one year was encouraging enough for the channel to increase the number of hours of these bulletins. He pointed out, “In fact, if you see from the 4 pm to 12 midnight time band, India TV has increased the number of hard news to five and a half hours. In comparison, our nearest competitor only has three hours. And the difference between the number one and number two is increasing.”

The road ahead for Sharma in 2011 is to consolidate this position. For the channel, the motto of 2010 was Ratings with Responsibility, and in 2011, it would be Ratings with Respect. Replying to why was it that the perception for Hindi news channels was still not changing, despite the attempt to increase hard news stories on the channel, Sharma said, “I can promise you that we can change the perception. For us, going forward, the objective is to build on this trend of viewers coming on news stories, and in the process consolidate our position, and strengthen our news network.”

In the year ahead, India TV would be adding more new shows, and the channel will maintain its aggressive stance when news is baking or events coverage is happening. The channel is also working on training its reporters. One of its efforts in training talent is the creation of Special Investigative Team (SIT). Giving some perspective here, Sharma said, “Broadcast reporters in India are yet not trained enough to be able to handle some of big issues the country is facing, such as investigating large scale corruption. Their skills have to be scaled up, and that is what we plan to train them for. As we move forward, you will see more such initiatives from us.”

The ratings game is an unpredictable one and can move in any direction, but so far, India TV has seen a positive 2011.

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