Any conversation between well-known, but contrasting personality types is always interesting. Thus, when soft-spoken Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World and Arnab Goswami, Editor-In- Chief, Times Now, who is known for his tough talk, came together on one stage for a conversation, wide-ranging issues were covered. The topic of discussion was ‘The Next Generation News Anchor - Reinventing the way news is done’.
Sharing his journey with Times Now, Goswami highlighted that in the early days of the channel he was concerned about the viewership. “Nobody must be watching as our distribution was very low and the channel was hardly known,” Goswami said candidly, adding, “People remarked, what is Times Now, it should be ‘Times When’, this is never going to launch.”
Asking about the various aspects of news, Balsara fleshed out the importance of any local or national topic. Agreeing with his thought process, Goswami said that one should magnify a local story and build it to national context.
“This can begin with connecting to the people’s hearts,” Goswami added. He further shared, “I was giving news back in 2006 for the first time, however, I was not connecting to the people’s hearts. It was about the run downs, script, news headlines and typical journals then.”
The Times Now Editor-In-Chief added that the transformation will begin when the race for ratings ends. Further stating that this transformation is a natural progression, Goswami said that the news should come from the heart.
Times Now was a late entrant in the English news genre and hence, it faced some tough time in positioning itself. When Balsara asked about the positioning and day plan of Times Now Goswami replied by citing the example of a cricketer, who has to bat whether the conditions are in his favour or not. “When we go to bat every morning, we say that by the end of the day, the most important issue has to be associated with Times Now,” he affirmed.
He further shared, “There was one line I used when we started the channel – ‘Feel the news’. I coined the line. Thus, I wanted people to have an experience of the news and get under their skin.”
Sam Balsara and Arnab Goswami were speaking at the launch event of BW|Businessworld’s ‘The Marketing White Book 2014-15’, held in Gurgaon on April 30, 2014.