Times Now celebrated its first birthday on January 31, 2007, with a growth graph to show for its first year of operations. Aiming at newer heights in times to come, Sunil Lulla, CEO, Times Global Broadcasting Co Ltd, said that the channel had identified quite a few focus areas for 2007.
Speaking on how life had changed at the end of a year, Lulla said that the thrill, nervousness and excitement that the team felt at launch had not changed. He said, “We have maintained continuity in our zeal. There are many changes that are coming up, and we have kept consumers in mind. If they respond in a certain manner, we have done things according to that.”
Hence, consumer-interest stories had been chased through all angles. “We initially started out as a general news channel. But somewhere along the line, we began to get stronger on the business block and felt that this was skewing our position in the market. This made us take some decisions and keep our focus on general news again,” he added.
“So, what we decided to do was to dilute the hours of business on the channel, but not reduce the intensity with which we would serve it. We found that some shows worked, and some didn’t work. We decided that we were a hard news channel – the big story channel, and that our focus should be on news,” Lulla further said.
“We also decided to keep up our synergy with The Times of India. This gives us opportunities on print as well as on TV, and get a mix where medium is concerned,” he said, adding, “The idea is to keep the content fresh – it doesn’t matter, whether we are one year old or 10 years old.”
Lulla felt that their digital launch before their television launch on Reliance got the channel noticed earlier and that helped. “It was a great marketing tool,” he said.
Although he admitted that they hadn’t invested in distribution yet, Lulla said that their polynormal graph showed that they had been moving upwards continuously. “Taking the channel on an international level is still on the radar too,” he further said.
Lulla added that there were new platforms and that they were looking for new opportunities with different mediums. “We will go to other markets later. Right now, we are planning to step up on sports and entertainment,” he informed.
“We are also planning to bring news and programming together in a better mix – and focus on news programming instead. This means that we will have more of news programs, by taking up a current affair like people’s civic complaints increasing and have a program on BMC problems,” he added.
Lulla said that in 2007, they would also like to have more interactive programmes and talk to viewers about various issues as well as have a new web strategy. “We’d like to have a new web face soon also,” he said, adding that the projects they took up would be those that made economical sense, rather than just trying to make the channel popular.