Digital content is an amplifier, not a threat to TV news channels: Kartikeya Sharma, iTV

Kartikeya Sharma, Founder & Promoter at iTV Network, talks about technological disruptions in the newsroom, how television journalism is irreplaceable and the outlook for 2020

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 1:42 PM
Kartikeya Sharma

Kartikeya Sharma, Founder and Promoter at iTV Network feels that 2020 will be as eventful a year as 2019. With the year starting with news heavy headlines of CAA protests and Delhi elections knocking on the doors, newsrooms have been busy.

Steadily getting stronger with the regional channels too, iTV Network has garnered solid viewership in a short span of time. Extremely optimistic about NTO 2.0 and confident about English digital content, Sharma talks to us about technological disruptions in the newsroom, how television journalism is irreplaceable and outlook for 2020.

Edited excerpts:-

What are the biggest changes newsrooms have seen in 2019? Any disruption that you would want to talk about?

Change in the news is a constant process. According to me, social media has affected the newsroom in a great way. Social media has changed the dos and don’ts of newsrooms. So the changes and evolution in social media are concerning. This is the reason why traditional media is important.

2020 will be better for the news industry. With the NTO 2.0 being published, it will be a big relief for news channels for providing news and content at a cheaper price. Also, digital content will become even more potent in the coming times.

At a time when digital media is seeing huge growth, do you think it is a threat to TV news channels?

I really don’t think that digital is a threat to TV news channels. It is an amplifier. It accentuates certain aspects of the news. Different genres of news are using digital media differently according to their target audience.

English digital content is far more consumed than other languages and digital content is the best feedback method for English channels to know the kind of content working for them. In my view, digital can become part of the journey but cannot replace television journalism.

2019 was a news heavy year where news viewership sometimes exceeded that of GEC offerings. What were the three biggest news pieces that iTV network ran in 2019?

2019 was an eventful year. As it was an election year too, we ran extensive coverage of the elections on all the platforms whether Hindi, English or regional. Our YouTube programme “Tikhi Mirchi” garnered 35 million views and the “Save Water” initiative in collaboration with Art of Living is the largest initiative amongst all the other news channels.

 A lot of technology is being introduced in television journalism, for instance, MoJo and others. What kind of technological integration do you have in your newsrooms?

In my view, the news industry is not the first to imbibe technology. Technology has an important role to play and it has made work much smoother and effective. But, at the same time technology is also a real threat to traditional media.

Tell us a little bit about how busy 2020 will be in terms of news as compared to 2019. Any major disruption are you expecting in TV journalism in 2020?

I hope 2020 to be a more eventful year than 2019. With Delhi elections and other state elections in the pipeline, a humongous amount of newsy content is going to be circulated throughout channels.  News will be even bigger in the field of politics, cricket and entertainment. Digital will be getting stronger with the re-evaluation of content in different aspects viewers consume it.

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