STAR News is at an enviable position at present given its consistent second seat in Hindi news channels for several months now and having the distinction of being the only channel to displace the leader in the segment, even if the achievement was for a week. Not that the channel’s CEO & Editor, Uday Shankar has much to say when it comes to ratings, but he believes that STAR News is on the right track and this new phase in its plan of action, that focuses on news dissemination, will bring the channel even closer to the viewer, creating a mark in news presentation.
One of the first steps in the new phase, concentrating on news presentation, is the launch of news bulletin ‘Satyameva Jayate’ that will take a definitive stance on the major news events of the day, positioning itself as the Page One of STAR News. Beginning May 29, 2006, the half an hour bulletin will be aired at 9 pm, Monday to Friday.
This bulletin is in addition to the regular news bulletins that the channel would be airing. The channel has attempted differentiation in every aspect of this bulletin – the format, presentation, kind of topics and stories covered. Shankar insists that the bulletin will only speak on topics that really make a difference to the Indian viewer. More importantly, the channel will establish in its presentation as to how these news stories would have an impact on the life of the viewer.
Explaining the reasons for looking at news dissemination per se, Shankar explained, “One of the first problems that we identified as a reason why the Indian news genre isn’t growing despite the presence of multiple channels is that there is too much of sameness in all channels. Appointment viewing as a concept hasn’t been prevalent in Indian news channels like they are in other more mature markets.”
The channel was addressing this problem when it started launching new shows that formed the feature content of the channel. In the wake the channel launched shows in genre like crime, cricket, entertainment and so on. Shankar believes that with all of these shows being top notches in their respective categories, the ‘feature’ content on STAR News is in place. This leaves the ‘News’ part of it. Some initiatives in news have also been seen earlier from the channel – whether it is ‘Pehli Khabar’, a 5-8 am first look at news events or ‘Yeh Bharat Desh Hai Mera’, which focuses on human interest issues.
But with ‘Satyameva Jayate’, the channel is looking at new scales. Shankar said, “With ‘Satyameva Jayate’, we redefine news programming in India once again. This news bulletin will dismantle the traditional thought and stereotypes in the news business and represent the interests of citizens of a bold new, emerging India. In doing so, we will once again reaffirm our oath to our viewers.”
He also informed that unlike regular news bulletins, ‘Satyameva Jayate’ would not be sponsored. This decision was taken on the basis of the seriousness in this attempt and given the responsibility that a name like ‘Satyameva Jayate’ brought.
As the name suggests, ‘Satyameva Jayate’ – Let truth prevail – will have a direct approach in presenting the various layers of meaning of a particular news story and its consequent impact on the viewers’ lives. The show will focus on the big stories of the day in politics, civic issues, investigations and sports amongst others and break through the code of obfuscation.