"We are talking with them about a partnership for an English new channel. But we are not looking for branding from them. India needs a news channel with a global outlook. We need to produce content that has a global feel and we also need to present news that is global in nature," said Chairman of Essel Group and Zee, Dr Subhash Chandra, speaking on speculation around a tie-up with CNN for a English News channel . Dr Chandra was speaking at a select media gathering.
“We are in the process of firming up our plans for a global English news channel, with or without CNN,” he added.
Some excerpts from a Q & A
How has the digital wave affected news media?
The youth of India are neither reading newspapers nor are they watching television. The source of news to the youth is not through TV or print, it’s through the Internet. That too they pick up only what is of their interest and what is being talked about in their peer group. There is confusion in the minds of people over the difference between an opinion of someone and news.
This pendulum instead of seeing balanced movement is going an extreme way. But I think it will balance out in a few years. People will decide between right and wrong and truth and lies.
How is Zee equipping itself for adaption to digital?
Our news channels are not slotting news for their peak time only. For example, typical 9 o’clock news can be aired anytime of the day online. The viewer can access it whenever they want and on the gadget on their choice. Appointment moves out of our hands and into the viewer’s now.
We offer the chance to watch content from our entertainment channels online as well. For example, if you missed a show, it is available for a period of 30 days on the website for free. We plan to monetise it later on. Other sites offering free content will also have to monetise, whether by the consumer or through advertising.
How does news media cope with the digital completely changing the dynamics of news?
You have to become more and more transparent about sources of information. Sometimes if the source doesn’t want to be identified one can still blur the person’s image if required.
People ask for straight news, they don’t want our opinion. They want to decide for themselves what is right and wrong.