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Olympics: News channels likely to do better than sports channel

17-August-2004
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Olympics: News channels likely to do better than sports channel

The AthensOlympics, according to media experts, is likely to fetch more business for news channels compared to the sports segment. While DD Sports has the exclusive rights to telecast the event, all news channels have planned special programming. And, more people are expected to catch the snapshots instead of the complete coverage.

Giving a perspective of the Olympics scenario on Indian television, Nitin Jain, GroupM explains, “The interest level of Indians in Olympics in not very high. With the exception of select events like Hockey and Tennis, the event will not generate enough excitement amongst the viewers to catch it all around on a sports channel. They would want to keep themselves updated and that can be easily done by the one-hour or such capsules that news channels have planned.”

Industry sources inform that neither DD nor any other channel showing Olympics-related programming has charged a premium. Explaining more on this, S Ravi Kiran, MD, Starcom (South and West), explains, “Media professionals will not be interested in the games per se, they are interested in viewership and not much viewership is expected around Olympics in India. In that sense, investing on a sports channel would not be wise. I think in the current ordeal of the sports and news channels, the latter would not be losing too much money.”

The experts are of the opinion that while both news channels and sports channels have found it difficult to sell the property, the sports channels would make barely some percentage of the cost incurred. DD Sports has invested as much as Rs 22 crore to acquire the property and as per sources, it will be able to make not more than Rs 9 to 10 crore from it. The current list of advertisers present on the property includes Samsung, Indian Oil, VSNL and Hero Honda.

Nonetheless, every news channel has gone after Olympics in a big way. Ravi Kiran explains that any association with Olympics right now is more for imagery than reaching out to masses, “Largely, brands that want to be associated with the event would be seen on the event.”

The initiatives Indian news channels have planned are elaborate. Aaj Tak and Headlines Today have sent special teams to Athens to cover the event, and have made arrangements for providing regular updates on the events and developments.

As for STAR News, the channel has planned a special ‘Ek Champion Ho Apna’ since August 10. The half-hour special is aired at 8.30 am, 7.30 pm and 11.30 pm daily. STAR News has also put together additional segments like ‘Olympics Breaking News’, ‘Olympics Trivia’ and ‘Medal’s Tally’ airing at regular intervals throughout the day during the games.

ZEE News roped in names like Jasdev Singh, and Hockey Olympian Pargat Singh on their panel throughout 2004 Olympics. The channel has designed special Olympics Programmes to give its viewers a different experience and knowledge of the sport so that they don't miss out the action.

Laxmi Goel, Director, Newsgroup, Zee Telefilms, shares, “With this special mega event programming, Zee News wants their viewers to know the history and the facts of the games besides watching the exciting event. Zee News took the initiative in roping in world class experts to give A to Z analysis of the greatest event on the earth".

Sahara Samay Rashtriya too has a plan of action lined up. The channel brings a live discussion and analysis-based programme,‘Mission Olympics’. Arup Ghosh, Head, National Channel, Sahara Samay, shares, "Dhanraj Pillay and Dilip Turkey will chair discussion from Athens on all the Indian hockey matches in an exclusive section, ‘Hockey Ka Baadshah’ and ‘Dilip Ke Saath’. We have one programmes. On weekdays, it will be aired from 7.00 to 8.00 pm and on weekends, from 6.00 to 7.00 pm."

Till the time of filing the story, NDTV was unavailable for comments.

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