We thought Young Turks would last 13 weeks but it took on a life of its own: Shereen Bhan

Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBC-TV18, talks to e4m about Young Turks completing 18 years, changing dynamics of the newsroom in the wake of COVID pandemic and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 18, 2020 3:52 PM
shereenBhan

CNBC-TV18 is celebrating the coming of age of India's first show dedicated to startups. Young Turks, which first went on air in 2002, turned 18 on June 17. Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBC-TV18, talks to exchange4media about the show that has featured 5000 startups in close to two decades and the evolving story of startups in India. Bhan also talks about the changing dynamics of the newsroom in the wake of the pandemic and how the brand stays true to its commitment towards viewers in these difficult times.

Excerpts

Tell us a little about Young Turks. To celebrate the 18th anniversary is quite a milestone. How do you think the startup scenario has changed in the country in these 18 years?

Young Turks started as an experiment to focus on younger entrepreneurs, new ideas and emerging Indian brands. We thought this would be a series that would last 13 weeks but it took on a life of its own, and is today not only India’s first show dedicated to startups but perhaps the world’s longest running show on startups and entrepreneurship. Through the course of the show, we have seen the startup economy evolve. The ecosystem is far more diverse than it was 18 years ago. Young Indian entrepreneurs have leveraged the power of technology to create sharp B2C and B2B brands across a wide range of sectors. Startups have not only created new categories, markets and niches, but they have also helped formalise and organise sectors that have largely been fragmented. Many startups are building for India and many are using the learnings from India to build for the world. The global aspiration of young Indian entrepreneurs has been an interesting trend to track, along with the focus on ideas to address the needs of India.
With the growth of this ecosystem, we at Young Turks decided to launch a daily show, Startup Street,  focused on news from and for this constituency. So as Young Turks completes 18 years, Startup Street has just turned one and we are immensely proud of having been an integral part of the startup India story.   

How many startups have been on the show till date? Tell us about the evolution of the show. What is the special programming planned for the 18th anniversary?

Over the years, we have featured almost 5000 entrepreneurs from India and have also taken the show global. We have deep associations with startups from different parts of the world and have taken the show to the Valley, London, Singapore, Israel and built a global network. We have a special one-hour show lined up to mark this milestone, with some of India’s leading startups and investors joining us on CNBC-TV18.  The show will feature prominent investors and founders in the likes of Naren Gupta, Co-Founder & MD, Nexus Venture Partners, Dev Khare, Partner, Lightspeed India Partners, Padmaja Ruparel, Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network, Amrish Rau, CEO, Pine Labs,  Gazal Kalra, Co-Founder, Rivigo, Vidit Aatrey, Founder & CEO, Meesho and Vamsi Krishna, CEO & Co-founder, Vedantu.

Coming to the present times, how has working with a staggered workforce and the lockdown changed the dynamics of the newsroom at CNBC-TV18?

The pandemic has certainly transformed everything around us. A staggered workforce and the lockdown has only made us more efficient and innovative; the COVID-19 outbreak is the biggest story of our times and we at CNBC-TV18 have left no stone unturned in covering it. Staying true to our unwavering commitment to our viewers, the editorial team has been working around the clock to keep our viewers on top of the COVID19 story. We were amongst the first ones to adopt a business continuity plan which has aided us in maintaining a seamless flow of operations and ensuring safety of all staff. The entire CNBC TV-18 network, right from anchors, journalists, production team and the entire newsroom crew, were nimble in adapting to the new norms. Our collective effort towards providing fresh and dynamic content with an all-round perspective has been instrumental in garnering our audiences' continued support. As always, we have been true to our promise of bringing our viewers news breaks, along with the biggest voices in the country who have exclusively and first spoken to CNBC-TV18! And we shall continue to keep the show going for our viewers!

News viewership has been on an all-time high in these last three months and people have been very interested in markets and business news. Has CNBC-TV18 also witnessed growth in viewership? What is your plan to keep this growth sustainable?

Ever since the lockdown was implemented, people have been spending a lot of their time at home, watching television to keep themselves abreast with the latest updates. Business news consumption has seen unprecedented growth as compared to other genres as the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy & the markets. Even as we moved a significant part of our operations to work from home, we continued to innovate on our programming bringing together the most influential leaders to help draw up a roadmap to restart India. From Central bankers, Union ministers, state finance ministers and business leaders to Nobel laureates, global healthcare leaders and fund managers, we have tried to give our viewers a comprehensive look at the problem and possible solutions. 
As a responsible news platform and a leader in the business news segment, CNBC-TV18 has witnessed a massive hike in viewership, which has recently stabilised. We have consistently garnered more than 70 per cent market share in the English business news genre. CNBC-TV18 has continued to outperform owing to our unmatched coverage and in-depth, accurate analysis.

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