“The media industry seeks your attention, mind space, time and recall,” said Arnab Goswani, Editor-in-Chief and News Anchor, Times Now, while addressing the elite gathering at the 13th edition of exchange4media Conclave, held in Mumbai today.
Making a case for the TV news industry, he asked delegates what were their talking points in the last eight days. What were they checking on their phones or Twitter? Was it about some show on a GEC or the Tarun Tejpal incident?
People are only looking for news. News drives India and its impact is only going to increase, said Goswami, making an impassioned plea to support to the audience to support journalism.
He further added that news should get the attention it deserves. “Twenty years later, we should not feel that we undermined the new industry,” he said.
“If a GEC has more reach, a TV news channel has 20 times more impact,” he added.
Attention, impact & scalability
News demands more attention, has far greater impact than a GEC, with huge potential for scalability.
Elaborating on the above mentioned three points, Goswami gave the example of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and the coverage.
“At Times Now, we had 11 reporters, out of which six were inexperienced; three outside broadcast vans; 22 people on production, 13 of whom were new recruits; three anchors; six people on input and 10 desk personnel. Fifty-five people in all held the attention of the nation with the channel’s path-breaking coverage,” Goswami shared.
Talking about deep impact, he cited example of IPL and 2G scams, among others. How many GRPs can measure that impact? Ten years from now, the Indian TV news industry will be as powerful as the cable industry in the US, he stated.
Talking about scalability, Goswami said that there is an inflection point in the news industry. Nowhere is the industry changing as fast; no country is witnessing such growth.
Crucial investment in editorial
Do you know how much is spent on editorial, programming and content creation, asked Goswami. The biggest Indian news broadcasters spend $2 million to $8 million, which is miniscule as compared to Fox News’ average of $732 million and CNN’s annual spend of $690 million.
Bringing the vast difference even more into perspective, he said that the Indian spend is equal to the salary of two to three news anchors in New York.
“If $10 million to $20 million is given to an Indian news broadcaster, it can beat a CNN. I am not asking for top dollars that a GEC demands, but enough support for our ability to make deep and lasting change,” said Goswami.
We are 20 years behind America in chronology, 15 years behind in use of technology and 10 years behind in terms of news coverage. However, we are following the same growth curve and these two curves are dying to meet. In the year 2025, they will be at the same level. We will be at the centre of the global news industry, he stated.
“I am very eagerly waiting for the digital revolution. When it does come, people will not watch a serial on their phone, they will watch news. The news category will enjoy leadership. The big wave is soon going to come in the Indian TV news industry. I urge you all to invest your faith, time and attention,” concluded Goswami.