Always want to be a pro-people channel: Power TV CEO

Newly launched Kannada news channel now available on all MSOs, by the end of 2018 it will be available on 3 DTH platforms


Powersmart Media Pvt Ltd launched its Kannada News channel, Power TV, in October.

“We are positioning ourselves as a channel which brings truthful and unbiased news to the people of Karnataka. Delivering accurate, uncompromised news to the audience will be our top priority,” said Manjunath TR, CEO, Power TV.

“We always want to be a pro-people channel, whether it is about bringing social issues to the forefront or taking people’s might and plight to the lime light,” he added.

He said that the channel’s programmes are designed with utmost passion to cater to all sections of society.

“A dedicated young team is well equipped to work industriously to reach out to the people of Karnataka,” said the CEO.

"Just like the name, Power TV will always thrive hard to empower, protect and educate women, youth and people of all walks of life.  After all, credibility and our people matter the most to us.”

The channel telecasts programmes namely Power Yoga, Power Café, Ladies Power, Filmy Power, Chintus Power, to name a few.

Available on all MSOs (Multiple System Operators), by the end of 2018 it will be available on 3 DTH platforms. Viewers can also watch live updates on




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Kings XI Punjab welcomes on board Aaj Tak as Title Sponsor, unveils jersey

Aaj Tak will occupy the place on the front of the Kings XI Punjab Jersey this year


Kings XI Punjab has launched their new jersey and announced a range of partners that will support the team this season in the VIVO Indian Premier League.

On board as the Title Sponsor for the season is Aaj Tak. They will occupy their place on the front of the Kings XI Punjab Jersey this year.

“Aaj Tak has been the No. 1 channel for the last 19 years and Kings XI Punjab is proud to associate with them. Our other sponsors include Bageshree Infratech, VIP Industries, along with Jio, Fena, Royal Stag and Finale Cables, who continue to back us from last season,” the team said in a release.

Satish Menon, CEO, Kings XI Punjab, said, “We are delighted to unveil the new jersey and announce our partnership this year with the news channel Aaj Tak, a TV channel known as much for its in-depth analysis delivered in double quick time as for its credibility. A brand of that repute coming on board is a proud endorsement of Kings XI Punjab's intrinsic values. We head into IPL Season 12 with optimism and enthusiasm as we have the right brands with us on the journey. Their support is our strength as we aim to excel on the field with our performances played in the true spirit of the game.”

Kalli Purie, Vice-Chairperson, India Today Group, said, “India Today Group is really excited to partner with the most anticipated cricketing event of 2019. This partnership of Aaj Tak with Kings XI Punjab is a coming together of the biggest in News with the biggest in Sports. All the best to the Kings XI team, looking forward to an amazing tournament and like Aaj Tak, may the ‘Sabse Tez’ team win.”

Along with these, KXIP welcomed onboard their other partners as well. These are:

Kingfisher - Good Times Partner
Coca Cola - Official Beverage Partner
Beardo - Associate Sponsor
Prayag - Official Bath & Kitchen Fitting Partner
T10 - Official Kit & Merchandise Partner
Welspun – Official Partner
Dream11 - Associate Partner
boAt - Official Audio Partner
cricfig - Official Figurine Partner
The Souled Store - Merchandise Partner
Big FM - Radio Partner
CASHUrDRIVE - Outdoor Partner
Zomato – Official Partner

BARC India to launch integrated TV and OOH measurement service

BARC India started OOH TV viewership measurement in the three metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in 2018, and has now significantly expanded the coverage to 120+ urban towns and cities


BARC India, the audience measurement and analytics body, has added another offering to its suite of rich insight products. The company, which had launched its Out of Home (OOH) TV viewership measurement service in 2018, has decided to significantly expand the offering this year.
Starting this year, BARC India will be integrating TV and OOH TV viewership in its BARC India Media Workstation (BMW) software. This first-of-its kind integration of in-home and OOH TV viewing will allow BARC India subscribers to understand the overall viewership garnered on TV and the combined impact of the two mediums.
In 2018, BARC had started OOH TV viewership measurement in the three metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and has now significantly expanded the coverage to 120+ urban towns and cities. 

This also comes at a time when BARC India has expanded its panel to 40,000 metered homes within the committed timeline of March 2019.
The service will allow broadcasters and advertisers uncover more value and insights into the TV viewing behaviours both inside and outside the home. The data will also be available in the Planning module for agencies to plan effectively and account for this audience.
An establishment study conducted for OOH measurement revealed that of the 836 million TV owning individuals, at least 10% prefer visiting restaurants and eateries at least once a week. It was also observed that 13.5% of these TV viewing individuals visit said social eateries on a Sunday. The new TV + OOH measurement will enable tracking the TV viewing drive of such individuals from their homes to these social hot-spots.
Talking about the move, BARC India CEO, Partho Dasgupta, says, “Innovation is a part of our DNA at BARC India and it has always been our resolve to empower the industry with deeper and sharper insights into the TV viewing habits of Indians, irrespective of the screen or pipe. Our latest OOH offering is one such endeavour and we are sure that it will unlock great value for the entire broadcast ecosystem with big ticket events like Cricket World Cup and Indian Premier League coming up.”

Burger King signs ‘category partnership’ with Mumbai Indians for 2nd year in a row

As part of the collaboration, Mumbai Indians will sport Burger King logo on their outfit


Burger King India has announced its association with the upcoming T20 League cricketing carnival, as it signs an exclusive ‘category partnership’ with Mumbai Indians for the second year in a row.  As part of the collaboration, Mumbai Indians will proudly sport Burger King logo on their outfit.

Celebrating this season with a delectable twist, Burger King has curated a special whopper named after the partner team which is available on the menu through this season of Mumbai Indians.  The Mumbai Indians Masala Whopper is inspired by the flavourful spices of Indian gravies. This unique offering, starting at Rs 179, will be available in restaurants located across Mumbai, Pune & Gujarat in western region.

Further setting the tone for this cricket season, and taking forward their partnership towards a noble cause, Burger King in continuation with its campaign ‘Sixes for Kings’ shall have an additional exciting element this year. Throughout the season, on every six hit and on each wicket taken by Mumbai Indians player, the brand shall give away Whopper meals to the girls of Avasara Foundation. The partner NGO provides the highest quality education to underprivileged girls in Pune.

Commenting on the partnership, Rajeev Varman, CEO, ‎Burger King India Private Limited, said, “I am delighted to announce our partnership with Mumbai Indians for the second consecutive year. Cricket has always proven to be the most impactful medium to connect with our guests and strengthen our brand visibility. This season we have pushed the boundaries to engage our fans in an exciting in-restaurant experience. With numerous engagement activities and special menu dedicated to cricket fans, we are sure that our guests will have a Whopper of a time with this association.”

Mumbai Indians spokesperson, said, “Mumbai Indians is excited to partner with Burger King India for second year in a row. Mumbai Indians endeavor to create meaningful partnership for our fans who can experience the cricket fever through the Burger King.

The Founder of Avasara Leadership Foundation, Roopa Purushothaman, said, “We are grateful to Burger King for taking forward the ‘Sixes for Kings’ initiative this year as well. Our students are truly grateful for these Whopper Meals and the ongoing support to our organization. The ‘Sixes for Kings’ pledge means a lot to all of us.”

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We are anticipating exciting time for Zee Keralam in FY20: Business Heads, Zee Keralam

Anuradha Gudur, Business Head- Zee Keralam, Zee Telugu & Zee Cinemalu; and Deepti Pillay Sivan, Business Head - Zee Keralam, speak about the channel’s growth, content strategies and upcoming launches


Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) entered the Kerala market in November 2018 with the launch of Zee Keralam, its fifth channel in the southern region. With their strong content line-up and aspirational stories connected to the roots of the state, Zee Keralam is carving out its own space in the Malayalam GEC category.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Anuradha Gudur, Business Head- Zee Keralam, Zee Telugu & Zee Cinemalu; and Deepti Pillay Sivan, Business Head - Zee Keralam, spoke about the channel’s growth since the launch, content strategies, upcoming launches etc.

It’s been four months since the launch, how do you assess the performance of Zee Keralam? How far have you overcome the challenges posed by established players in Malayalam GEC?

Deepti: Zee Keralam launched with a strong brand proposition of ‘Let’s Weave Wonders in Life.’ Our GRP has seen 17% growth in 9 weeks which is a significant increase for a newly launched GEC despite some challenges during the launch phase in distribution and limited access to marketing mediums. We have kept our ears to the ground and are adapting our content with constant consumer feedback and hope to create a steady base in the coming fiscal.

As a network, we always put our consumers first by offering differentiated content that is relatable to the regional audience. Our channel’s visual quality and technical finess are also prime factors in setting us apart from competition. With our strong content line-up and aspirational stories that are from the roots of Kerala, we mirror the new Malayali woman on screen to ensure maximum relatability.

As per a BARC India survey, viewers of the four southern language markets — Tamil Nadu, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam — have the highest engagement with GEC content. According to you, what are the factors behind this?

Anuradha: At Zee, our biggest strength on regionals is our insight and understanding of the nuances of each culture and not just adapting stories to a language. It helps create a far more engaged and loyal viewer base who feel a great degree of association and affinity with our content.

A GEC channel has a well curated mix of all genres of content - fiction, non-fiction and films. Zee Keralam’s content caters to viewers across all age groups.

Across India, the number of original hours of content is highest in the south market. Zee Keralam launched with 52 hours of original content which was at par with our competitors. Our content is family-centric and aims at enhancing viewer connect. This plays a key role in increasing engagement.

Most of Zee’s fiction shows across regions usually build a loyal audience base over time. Our viewers tend to stay with the show, follow it with dedication, thereby building a steady slot viewership.

WTPs provide viewers with an opportunity to re-watch the films they’ve seen and loved. Being the single largest medium for family entertainment, television provides the audience a chance to see and connect with popular stars on a regular basis.

Can you tell us more about Zee Keralam’s content strategies?

Deepti: The expectations for quality content in a literate market such as Kerala is extremely high. Viewers do not wish to see run-of-the-mill content packaged in different ways. With out-of-the-box content formats and never-before seen original content, our content line-up has stories that are aspirational. Our leads are more than just characters you see on screen, they’re real representations of the women in Kerala.

Our intent is to give viewers a healthy mix of fiction & non-fiction content and also bring in some of the best national formats like SaReGaMaPa & Dance India Dance to Kerala. We are building our movie library and are gearing for a strong festive line-up in the coming year.

Additionally, it is also about respecting the time the viewer is giving to the channel. It is something we do not take for granted. If a viewer is willing to dedicate hours of their time to watch the content we are putting out, it is our responsibility to do justice to that and ensure that we deliver exceptional quality content that a viewer will want to watch.

Please elaborate on the marketing and advertising plans of the channel for this year

Deepti: We are currently in the middle of three new show launches, two non–fiction and one fiction. We will be launching the much-awaited SaReGaMaPa Keralam, Zee’s own musical format show, in Q1 of FY20.

All our shows have been launched with exclusive 360-degree aggressive marketing campaigns spanning across all mediums. We also plan to run parallel brand campaigns across selected mediums to maximise awareness in the deep rural regions. At Zee, we always believe in strong, well-rounded marketing campaigns that cover all TGs.

Ground connect & digital amplifications will also be a key agenda that we will be driving in the coming year to build sustained engagement with the brand.

Could you tell us about your upcoming launches and the differentiation between the reception of a channel in urban and rural markets?

Anuradha: We are looking at launching ZEE’s own singing format in Q1 of FY20. SaReGaMaPa Keralam will be a musical extravaganza, one that the Kerala market will see for the first time at this scale.

Audiences in a rural market normally gravitate towards fiction and drama while non-fiction pulls in a higher percentage of the urban crowd.

Zee Keralam has touched 100 GRPs in the Urban market in Week 11 (Source: BARC India, 2+ Yrs. Kerala Urban). This is reflective of the growing affinity for our content with the aid of our growing audience base. It is the first milestone in our journey, and we are committed to building a strong position in the market.

According to you, how will TRAI’s new tariff regulation affect new entrants like Zee Keralam?

Anuradha: For a new entrant like Zee Keralam, the challenge was to maximise awareness and to appear appealing enough to get a viewer to choose the channel. We have managed to garner a loyal audience base and we are counting on them to spread the word about our strong content line- up and our channel pricing point that is only 10p/month. We also have multiple on-going marketing campaigns about the variety of upcoming shows that will reach our TG and help them see that Zee Keralam is an exciting new Malayalam GEC that should definitely be accessible on their television screens.

What are your hopes for the channel in 2019?

Anuradha & Deepti: We are anticipating an exciting time ahead for Zee Keralam in FY20. We will be launching some of our biggest show formats and amping up our content line-up with new fiction shows. We definitely hope to reach out with a mix of content and capture the hearts of our Malayali audience.

TV as a medium won’t stay the way it is today: Gurdeep Singh Sappal, Swaraj Express

Gurdeep Singh Sappal, former CEO of Rajya Sabha TV and Amrita Rai, Managing Editor of the newly launched Swaraj Express spoke about the launch of the new venture

by Ruhail Amin
Published - 6 hours ago

Having conceptualised and established the public sector broadcasting channel Rajya Sabha TV (RSTV), Gurdeep Singh Sappal, former CEO of RSTV has launched his new venture Swaraj Express. His new venture has also roped in RSTV’s popular anchor and former Executive Producer Amrita Rai, who is now the Managing Editor of Swaraj Express. In an interview with exchange4media, the duo spoke about their new venture and how they plan to bring their public service broadcasting experience to this private venture.


What is the motive behind launching a new channel at this time?

Gurdeep Singh: As you know, we are witnessing extreme clutter in the news marketplace and we cannot leave everything to this chaos and noise. Such is the nature of this noise that people are moving to social media platforms to get first-hand information and we feel it is the right time to address this issue.

I also think TV news players over the years have failed to provide wholesome coverage to their viewers. If you look at TV news channels and the kind of content they carry, all of them are focusing on the same 25 stories throughout the day, and there is no differentiation. We have decided not to follow this pattern, and out of 25 stories that we carry, 20 will be different. That is the kind of differentiation we are bringing to the viewers who have become more discerning today.

Amrita Rai: People have increasingly moved to social media platforms to get real news and also to express themselves. Today’s news channels are not able to provide them the information that they want and we want to fill this vacuum with the help of this new venture.

Having helmed the public broadcasting space for many years and now getting into the private broadcasting domain; tell us how are the two different in your view?

Gurdeep Singh: Public broadcasting is a different area. When I was heading that, the idea was to provide space to news which the private sector will never carry because of profitability issues. So Rajya Sabha TV was created around the premise that the public broadcaster has to be the voice of those people who never get a chance to get featured on private channels.

Having moved from public to private, our approach is the same.  Here also we are trying to cover the marginalized sections and even developing bulletins for tribals etc. We know initially this may not bring us revenue, so the philosophy that media is not just a business is what we deeply believe in, and we are carrying it from Rajya Sabha TV to this venture.

With elections around the corner, do you think it is going to benefit new players like you? How are you looking at this big political event?

Gurdeep Singh: We are not looking at elections as a means to revenue generation. We have decided internally that we will go out in the field and start earning revenue from advertisements only after the elections are over. Till these elections are on, we will only be focusing on journalistic aspects and nothing else as there is a need for a serious journalistic venture to win back the trust of the masses.

Amrita Rai: From a content point of view, the election is a great time; we are not looking at the revenue aspect at this stage as explained. We see elections as a time to find a deeper connect with our viewers and understand their pulse through stories that are impactful.

Finally, how do you see the news space evolving in the next two to five years given the rise of digital and social platforms and changing consumption patterns?

Gurdeep Singh: TV as a medium won’t stay the way it is today. The kind of high pitch engagement that we witness on TV today cannot be sustained for long. News has to be pure and direct and it will return to that.

Moreover, the integration of TV and social media, which is already happening, will gain more momentum as it has become an irreversible process.

Wild Edens: South Asia documentary is dedicated to the fight against global warming

Actor Freida Pinto is the Wild Edens: South Asia project’s ambassador. The feature documentary is by Rosatom and will be broadcast by National Geographic this spring

Freida Pinto

The new documentary ‘Wild Edens: South Asia’ is the third in a series that high-lights the issue of climate change. Focusing on the flora and fauna in the one-of-a-kind natural habitats of India and Bangladesh the documentary was filmed in a number of remote locations, including the Western Ghats, varied landscape of Tamil Nadu and the Sundarban Delta.

Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, the producer of safe and clean energy, is deeply concerned with the threats associated with global climate change. “Along with our international partners, we take responsibility for resolving global environmental challenges and call upon the world community to wake up and do the right thing. As Mahatma Gandhi once famously said: ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world’,” said Vadim Titov, Rosatom representative. 
Actor Freida Pinto, the project’s ambassador, added, “Through this well-made documentary, the world and my fellow Indians will be able to connect with my country’s exotic mix of wild nature, rare animal life, unique wildlife sanctuaries and magnificent landscapes that are mesmerising but also under the threat of the dangers of climate change. The many wonderful creatures introduced in this film will win you over by their beauty, their resilience, their survival instincts and also their vulnerability.” 

Wild Edens: South Asia is produced by Off the Fence Productions, based in Bristol, England, the global HQ of natural history filming. The Series Producer is Andrew Zikking, and Director is Tom Barton-Humphreys. Executive Producers are Ellen Windemouth and Allison Bean. 
Premiering in UHD, filming for ‘Wild Edens: South Asia’ took many months, taking the crew and their kit to the region's most varied landscapes, including dense forest, fertile plains, towering mountains, and the planet's largest mangrove forest. The film captures the exotic mixing-pot of iconic wildlife and habitats at risk from climate change, and leads you to think what might be done to mitigate potential destruction.

The Wild Edens project’s main goal is to attract the attention of the international community to climate change and the need for a global transition to clean and carbon-free energy. The filming and broadcasting on National Geographic Channel of unique documentaries about wilderness areas with animals and plants in danger of extinction due to global climate change will be the culmination of the project. The locations for filming have been chosen to show the extraordinary beauty of landscapes, and at the same time to emphasise that these unique places and their inhabitants, rare species of animals, birds, the unique natural environment, forest, water bodies and plants, are in danger of extinction.

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Star Sports Select Dugout 2.0 to keep fans ahead of the game this VIVO IPL 2019

The Select Dugout will be aired on Star Sports Select 1 (SD and HD) providing fans with richer analytical experience coupled with a stimulating narrative during matches to stay ahead of the game

Select Dugout Experts VIVO IPL 2019

Star Sports, the official broadcaster for VIVO IPL 2019, today unveiled Star Sports Select Dugout 2.0 after last year’s massive success. The Select Dugout, will be aired on Star Sports Select 1 (SD and HD) providing fans with richer analytical experience coupled with a stimulating narrative during matches to stay ahead of the game.

The Select Dugout panel includes an exclusive and illustrious panel of experts including former captains’ coaches’ and mentors such as debutants Gautam Gambhir (also on Hindi commentary) Brendon McCullum (also on World Feed), Dale Steyn along with Dean Jones, Kumar Sangakkara, Scott Styris, Anil Kumble. Joining them will be Kevin Pietersen, Brett Lee and Graeme Smith who are also a part of the World Feed.

Star Sports Select has always believed in delivering exemplary coverage that goes beyond the usual to create an enhanced viewing experience for fans and with Select Dugout, VIVO IPL 2019 is being reimagined for cricket lovers who are passionate about the Game.

The Dugout, is a bespoke experience that will bring fans closer to the game than last year. Creating deeper fan engagement, the feed will provide detailed analytical commentary. The style and tone with which information will be presented will resonate highly among committed cricket purists. The Select Experience will use graphics and augmented reality (AR), and will also incorporate tweets from players creating a stimulating narrative for fans.

Commenting on the offering this year, Anil Kumble, former Indian cricketer and Select Dugout Expert said, “The advantage of the Select Dugout is that we are bringing in insights both as a player and as a coach and then reading the game as it progresses, and then probably predicting what is going on in the minds of the players; what the batsmen are thinking or what the bowler is thinking and what would be his reaction and try to bring that to the fans. I think that is something which will be very useful for all the viewers, not just them, but also for the players and the team to start thinking about their team and their strategies. We will have to bring in a bit more predictive element in the Select Dugout and perhaps bring in a bit more of analysis and in-depth information in our demo zones.”

Kumar Sangakkara, former Captain of the Sri Lanka cricket team and Select Dugout Expert said, “I think Select Dugout 2.0 has to evolve just like T20 does and keep pace with what the modern cricket fan really wants. Conversational tone of delivery, but in-depth analysis where they can listen and just get a glimpse of how cricketer’s minds work and what strategy and tactics look like, what technique looks like, how a game is set from play-to-play and what the set of play in the future can be because of the events that are happening now. It’s a wonderful fan connect, very enlightening insights and just expert analysis.”

Dean Jones, former Australian right-handed batsman and Select Dugout Expert said, “We have more players and technologies coming, along with new analytics and with that, I’m just trying to understand the players' trends and team trends. We are constantly changing the team, and I think we are getting bigger and better at this as well. We are already giving an informed narrative on how the games are going, we will also probably be a little more predictive and have a better understanding of how it works. The fact that we don’t have the commercial responsibilities as you do on world competitive dugouts, we can give out and give a little bit more understanding on how to play certain bowlers and how to bowl to certain batsmen. We’ve got the fielding pods and all the other technologies to use that we didn’t have before, so that would be great fun.”

Scott Styris, former New Zealand all-rounder and Select Dugout Expert said, “We are going to refine what we have been doing, last year was a learning curve for us all; we got better as we went along. So, we have a better understanding of what was expected of us. And as the tournament went on as well, we were able to get a better picture of what was going on, on the field which allowed us to tell stories about the action as the tournament progressed. We have now a full year of trends and the way teams operate so we can tell the stories a little better. We’ve got a couple of new gadgets as well to use to add on to it. So, I would like to think that we would be a little more polished about enriching the knowledge, enjoyment, and entertainment that the public has.”

This year, Star Sports aims to deliver a more successful and engaging commentary experience with Select Dugout. Fans can expect more demos, more graphics and more stats that will bring core fans closer to VIVO IPL.

The 12th edition of VIVO IPL starts on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 with defending champions Chennai Super Kings take on Royal Challengers Bangalore.

NewsX lines up special election shows for the weekend

On NewsX - No Holds Barred there will be two different episodes on Saturday and Sunday

no holds

This weekend on NewsX - No Holds Barred there will be two different episodes on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, watch out for Tom Vadakkan, who recently joined hands with the BJP. During the episode, he will share his experience on joining the new party and his agendas for the forthcoming elections. 

On Sunday in another episode of NewsX - No Holds Barred, watch out for Santosh Desai who will share his views on “Brand Modi” and what brand Modi carries that his adversaries are missing. 

In this weekend episode of Legally Speaking, there will be an interesting discussion with  Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Member of Parliament, he will share the Congress party agenda for the upcoming general elections. 

This weekend on NewsX-The Sunday Guardian-The Roundtable, there will be an interesting discussion between Shahid Siddiqui, Former Member of the Rajya Sabha;  Smita Prakash, Editor, ANI; Ruben Banerjee, Editor, Outlook and Neerja Chowdhary, Columnist. These guests will share their views on the upcoming general elections and government policies. 
In the show Cover Story, there will be a special episode on Uttar Pradesh elections - Lucknow Diaries. Watch out for an interesting face-off between Udayveer Singh, MLC Samajwadi Party and Surendra Rajput, Senior Congress Leader on the role of the state of Uttar Pradesh in forming the government during the forthcoming general elections.       

India contributes significantly to our YouTube channel’s growth: Jim Egan, BBC Global News

The CEO of BBC Global News talks about the rise in viewership during Pulwama terror attack and subsequent events, general elections coverage plan, fake news and more


The Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent events, including the air strike and return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan’s custody, garnered heavy viewership for Hindi news channels. BBC Global News too saw a rise in English audience during this time, particularly on their YouTube page.

We spoke to Jim Egan, CEO, BBC Global News, to understand what this rise in viewership suggests about consumer behaviour, how are they looking to cover General Elections in India and much more. 

When informed that Hindi news channels in India saw a great surge in viewership during the Pulwama attack, subsequent air strike and Abhinandan's return, Egan asserts how that was the best week for them as well.

"The events in the last couple of weeks have been truly big in all our services, including English. Our English audience, particularly on YouTube, went up significantly in India. We had our best week ever. In India, there is a lot of buzz about what BBC is doing online. We have more FB followers of BBC World News in India than in any other country around the world. Our YouTube channel has 4mn subscribers and most of that growth has been in India," he reveals. 

Talking about the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Egan says BBC’s coverage will be completely free of bias.

Listing out the reasons why BBC can guarantee a bias-free coverage, he says, "Being free of bias has been intrinsic to BBC. We have been pursuing this ever since the organisation was founded. One of the reasons for being free of bias is that BBC is totally independent of any commercial influence. There is no mystery about our ownership structure or how we are governed. We go through the details not only for governance but for editorial purposes as well. We try to be transparent about where we come from and what we are seeking."

Talking about what enables BBC to do better journalism in India, Egan says, "It is because we have expanded our language portfolio in India. We have eight regional languages, plus English. We have nearly 300 people around India with a big bureau in Delhi."

According to Egan, the move to incorporate regional languages in the portfolio is an attempt to build its audience base.

"Fundamentally, it is about seeking to build new audiences in those regions where people don't widely speak English or Hindi. We have seen an opportunity with digital media, in particular," Egan explains.

Fake news is one of the big menaces that the world is facing presently. Egan reveals how BBC Global News conducted workshops, hackathons and interactions with the youth on how to spot fake news and avoid sharing them.

"Life is definitely difficult because the dividing line between a political message and straight forward news coverage is blurring quite dramatically. I don't know how it works in India, but in the UK, there are very strict rules on what we call party political broadcasts. Each party is given certain minutes of airtime and the political message happens within those minutes. But in the age of social media, this has completely been broken down. In the UK, around the referendum on whether or not the UK should remain a member of the EU, there was a criminal investigation into the fundings of certain social media messages that went around targeting groups. It's a major issue, particularly with WhatsApp, because of the closed nature of the app. These are tricky issues." 

Although he believes that it is the obligation of the news organisations to stay away from fake news, it isn't anybody's job to be fact-checking.

"Our focus is not to stop fake news or call out fake news. We don't consider it to be our or anybody else's job to be fact-checking. Our folks are more on real news and it lives up to the finest standards of journalism. Having said that, we do think it is the obligation of the serious news organisations to do something concrete and help people deal with news and the information that we get these days via social media," says Egan.

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Devotional channels see over 5-fold increase in viewership from 2016 to 2018 

The number of ad insertions, as per BARC data, has also risen with major advertisers for devotional channels being Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd, Wipro Ltd, Dish India TV and MDH Ltd

by Neethu Mohan
Published - 3 days ago

The viewership and ad insertions for devotional channels have seen a considerable increase in the 2016-2018 period, shows data from Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC).

In 2016, the number of devotional channels watermarked were just 3 with average weekly impressions of 22.2 million, as per BARC data, but the number rose to 11 with an average weekly impression of 97 million in 2017, and in 2018 there were 11 watermarked channels with a weekly impression of 119.8 million. 

The channels taken into consideration were Bhakti TV, CVR OM Spiritual, Disha TV, Divya, Hindu Dharmam, Prarthana, SAI TV, Sanskar, SVBC, and Vedic. 

Speaking on the rise in viewership of devotional channels, Arun S Nair, Vice President - Sales & Marketing (South) Insight Media City said, “The viewership rise can be attributed to two reasons. The distribution of the devotional channels has played a major role in improving their reach dramatically. Also, the deep pockets and their connect with service providers has enabled channel operators to be available on all the platforms.”

“The emotional connect with one’s religion is also one of the reasons behind the increase in viewership. In today’s fast-paced life, it is very important to connect with our culture and to gain knowledge about the customs and rituals. The devotional channels have succeeded in that by providing relevant content,” added Nair. 

According to Vineet Sodhani, CEO, Spatial Access, devotional channels have grown since the Free-to-Air (FTA) boom in 2016 when many new channels were launched and many that were paid turned FTA.

“Part of the growth also happened because BARC increased the sample and covered rural or semi-urban areas better which helped in the viewership growth of many such channels,” said Sodhani. 

Apart from the viewership rise, the 2016-2018 period has also witnessed a rise in total ad insertions. In 2016, the total ad insertions for devotional channels were 1,75,681; in 2017 the it jumped to 2,85,971, and in 2018 it was 3,88,273. 

The major advertisers for the devotional channels include Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd, Wipro Ltd, Dish India TV and MDH Ltd. 

On how advertising in devotional channels helps brands, Prateek Kumar, CEO & MD, NeoNiche said, “The content of devotional channels caters to the robust spiritual community across the globe, which experiences among other things, the live-streaming of some of the most visited religious places in India. They also participate in the actual 'darshan' through 360-degree videos. These channels explore the spiritual and devotional space by providing unique experiences to viewers through e-sermons, e-darshans and online offerings.”

According to BARC data, there is a growth in viewership of programmes related to yoga, meditation and spirituality, Kumar said. “There has been an increase in the number of urban youth and international followers of yoga and meditation tuning into these devotional channels. Most broadcasters and advertisers are becoming aware of this trend and brands in the area of personal care & hygiene, food & beverages, healthcare, health & lifestyle are latching on to this opportunity. What’s a better way to sell a Patanjali product to a global audience than through a TVC placed right before or after a yoga programme,” he asked.

According to Sachin Kumar, Founder, Bottle Openers, “Unlike GEC watching habits, the mindset of the audience of spiritual channels is completely belief-oriented and hence brands falling into categories like natural or herbal or Ayurvedic will have higher acceptability. One of the biggest successes we have seen in the past is Patanjali. Since spiritual channels are largely based on spiritual events, brands can turn the audience into advocates. Also, unlike millennials who get bored easily, this audience doesn't flip through channels and hence they tend to have higher receptiveness of the communication, which helps brands.” 

Talking about the other ways in which brands have been benefiting by placing ads in devotional channels, Prateek Kumar said: “Devotional channels offer a wide range of services for its audience like temple tourism, and access to japs, mantras, kathas, popular bhajans and holy books. Brands interested in target marketing, instead of trying to reach the mass market, can put their energy into connecting with a specific, defined group within that market. As per BARC, 77 per cent of TV viewers are in the age group of above 30. If segmented into right demographics, and psychographics and geography, it can help brands in cost-effective target marketing that will maximise the ROI on advertising budget since devotional channels are cheaper due to the waiver of broadcasting fee.”

Vinay Kanchan, Brand Storyteller, Innovation Catalyst and Author of ‘Sportivity’ says: “The ad rates offered by devotional channels are relatively economical. The clutter from other categories is a lot less. Brands advertising here have a stage where they can stand apart and make their point. Clients get ‘more blessings for their buck’ in a manner of speaking. Devotional channels help brands of a particular genre to truly engage their audiences. This association naturally makes sense for brands of  a certain kind, especially those with strong traditional Indian roots. 

"Consumers today expect their brands to mirror their own feelings and desires. Hence, for those spiritually inclined, seeing the brand on devotional channels they frequent only serves to strengthen bonds. This creates a deeper attachment which usually translates into sales. The opportunity also perhaps lies in creating specific narratives for these channels as they are unlike others in the media space in many respects. This makes sense because audiences are in an entirely different frame of mind when they switch to these channels.”

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