Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Sep 09, 2002
Industry & Economy - Radio/TV
Channel war over 9/11 hots up
NEW DELHI, Sept. 8
IT'S an opportunity news channels - both desi and foreign - don't want to miss. Television channels are gearing up to cover the first year commemoration of those who died when the Al-Qaeda struck the twin towers of the World Trade Centre (WTC).
So it is exclusive stories from the US as well as Afghanistan and the impact of 9/11 on India on Indian news channels such as Aaj Tak, Zee News and Star News. International networks such as BBC and CNN have drawn elaborate plans, which include documentaries and specials on everything from the attack to the anthrax scare.
While it is obvious why the international networks such as CNN and BBC are going the whole hog, Indian news channels such as Aaj Tak and Star News also see it as an opportunity to improve viewership.
Star News, for instance, has started airing small capsules on the effect the 9/11 incident had on various sectors in India. It is also not ruling out the option of using the Fox News feed for some live coverage. Zee News has tied up with CNN for footage. Hindi news channel Aaj Tak has planned an hour-long show, which will be aired at 10 p.m. The focus of the programme will be on life after one year of the attack on America.
Star officials maintained that the extensive coverage was because the attack had impacted people all over the world and there would be viewer interest. Mr Rahul Kansal, Joint Managing Director, Leo Burnett, said: "It will have high viewer interest. It was a fairly defining moment and people would like to watch the first anniversary." And media planners expect viewers to come from not just the urban areas, but also from smaller cities and towns.
A senior Mumbai-based media planner said: "The news channels came into the limelight during 9/11 last year and since then, the competition among news channels is only hotting up."
There are several more news channels such as Sahara News, two news channels from NDTV and the Videocon-promoted channel.
"The existing channels are looking at consolidating their position and hence, the need to offer specials during such important events," said the media planner.
The news channels market is estimated to be about Rs 100 crore and the pie will only get fragmented with more players coming in.
"The channels are driven mainly by advertising revenues and there is a skew to advertising more on local channels.
"Hence, Indian news channels are investing on covering international events. After all, it is about keeping the viewer hooked," said the media planner.
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