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NewsNext 2010: Are regional channels truer to ethics of journalism? Sudhir Chaudhury, Amita Karwal, Nikhil Seth, Moses Manoharan debate it out

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NewsNext 2010: Are regional channels truer to ethics of journalism? Sudhir Chaudhury, Amita Karwal, Nikhil Seth, Moses Manoharan debate it out

The concept of localisation and hyper localisation has been yielding positive results in the country. Moving out of national and international news, television news has spread its wings to regional issues and these are the markets to watch out for in the coming years. With channels like etv, Tv99 and so on, India has nearly 58 regional channels today. This market was explored in detail at the exchange4media NewsNext 2010 session titled ‘Has the regional promise delivered?’.

The session was moderated by Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor and CEO, Live India. The panellists included Amita Karwal, Executive Vice President, Karishma Initiative; Nikhil Seth, President, Sales, Mahuaa TV; and Moses Manoharan, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Tv99.

Giving an overview of the regional market, Amita Karwal said, “A lot of planning and investment today goes into regional channels.” She gave the examples of markets like South India and especially Andhra Pradesh, the state that has the maximum number of news channels doing quite well. The reason she explained, was that these channels understand what the consumers really want and that they are completely regional in their approach.

Manoharan said that regional channels are more true to the ethics of journalism. He added that though these channels are small, but they cater to local advertiser’s aspirations and cover news as and where it happens. He said, “We are not as irresponsible as some national channels that show things like WWE at prime time.”

Talking about the satisfaction levels, Nikhil Seth said that consumer satisfaction has not yet been achieved by regional channels and television news channels have not made many efforts in regional markets as yet. However, he added, that the regional channels have come up as a great marketing and communicating opportunity for retailers, builders, steel bar firms and even educational institutions.

Regional channels are also relevant for national news channels, said Sudhir Chaudhary. He added to this giving the example of the coverage of Mangalore plane crash, during which the national channels were dependant on regional channels for pegs on the story.

Regional channels are perceived as small channels and they struggle as far as TRPs are concerned. However, defending regional channels, Manoharan gave an example of a national television channel that opened its bureau in Rajasthan six months ahead of the Rajasthan elections and closed the bureau two months after the elections ended. He said that such a national channel proves itself shameless with such activities and thus, regional channels are truer.

The session concluded with Amita discussing the probable growth in the markets like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the coming years. She said that markets like Maharashtra that have a lot of players should now look forward to ideas for maximising their shares. She said that the regional markets are opening now and provide great scope for aspiring advertisers.


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