News First, Kannada news channel, turns one

News First CEO S Ravikumar shared that feedback from the market and audience has been encouraging but there is always room for improvement

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Sep 20, 2021 4:23 PM  | 5 min read
News 1st

News First, the "newest kid on the Kannada news channel block" has turned one.

'“News from News First is of good quality” “News First doesn’t drag or stretch news like some of the other channels” “The language they use is refined and superior” Feedback like the above is common across a cross-section of Karnataka’s news viewing public. If the number of big and small brand sign-ups over the past year are any sign, then it seems advertisers too seem to have seen potential in News First,' said the company in its official release today.

Since its launch on Sept 20, 2020, the expectation around News First appears to be paying off. The pre-launch messaging about “Quality Andhray News First, News First Andhray Quality” (Quality means News First, News First means Quality) appears to have struck a chord with audiences.

The last 12 months have been all about Covid. News First took the campaign to the villages with “HaLLEE Chalo” (Let’s go Village-ward, Drive away Corona - Save Villages). The campaign was latched onto by the state and central governments. This led to renewed Covid awareness and action in villages. A city focussed Covid awareness campaign, My City, My Safety, for Bengaluru’s apartment complexes was met with equal interest by the government and people alike.

Relentless Covid coverage apart, News First has got noticed for a clutch of people-centric and inspirational programming. Standouts include Nimma Paravagi (On behalf of the common man), Naanu Nanna Sadhane (Recognising Business Achiever’s from Tier 2 - Tier 3 cities), Yaavdhu Asaadhya Valla (Nothing is impossible), Vijayaee Bhava (May victory be with you), Idhidhu Idhange (News as it is) Mane Mane Meenakshi (Every household has a lady who loves TV serials) News First, in fact, has a lot going for it.

"Fast news, Drag free news, Scream free news, more news breaks and exclusives than any other channel, high-quality graphics, tastefully done up sets, anchors who look the part, and strong content focus. India First, Prime Show, etc rule the prime brand. Via frequent fast news shows spread through the day, News First ensures more on an average than any other Kannada news channel. Well begun is half done," said the channel.

Ravikumar S Ravikumar - CEO, News First said: Well begun is well, done. One can’t say half done so early in a brand’s life. More so in the year of the pandemic. We’ve done well under the circumstances I should say. Market and audience feedback has been encouraging. We’ve covered all of Karnataka cable and DTH homes. The team has lived up to its potential. Some of our shows have received good traction. But when excellence is ideal, there is always room for improvement.”

The withdrawal of BARC ratings upset our plans. Any strategic manoeuvring can be done only after the ratings are out. But we are optimistic about our brand’s performance and hence the ratings.” Even before the channel launched there was lot of buzz about the brand. Primarily because the promoters Ravi & Maruthi with their core team had built TV9, Kannada. Post-launch the hype has stayed true.

There is a lot of market interest in the brand. The content, delivery and anchoring are getting noticed. The Kannada news market was full of me-too brands. News First comes as a breath of fresh air. Quality is something they promised. Quality is something they are delivering. The channel aesthetics, for instance, stand out. So anyone flipping channels can stay for a glance. In many cases that’s all it takes to convert a cat on the wall viewer. Grabbing the floating viewer is the key. There are many of them out there eager to switch and stay. News First has definitely made a start by holding this viewer tired of noise and news drag. Even their non-prime time programming like Mane Mane Meenakshi and Vijayee Bhava are being talked out. It shows that the team is content-aware and content strong. Definitely early days. But the brand has an X factor not seen for a while in Kannada news. They may just be the differentiator in the Kannada news market.

SH Maruthi - Editor in Chief said: The program names too aren’t run of the mill or copy-pasted from national channel shows. Previously known words and phrases have been brought to life as program names across different time bands. The catchy program names are meant to create a sense of belonging in audiences. The rediscovered names are meant to make audiences feel one with the brand and experience an indescribable gush of emotions. News First is making all the right noises. The BARC ratings withdrawals were a downer. But they don’t seem to have diminished hopes about the brand’s perception. Ratings are likely to be out anytime soon.

S Divaakar - Business Head: Milestones are key moments in the life of any brand. We are happy to have reached the one-year milestone. A century of sorts during cricketing times! Always a good feeling. However, we are aware that it’s just the beginning in an indifferent year. We have a long way to go. The market is easing up after the lockdowns. As soon as BARC eases up on the ratings, the game will truly be on !”

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