News Consumption Strategic Implications Broadcasters
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INTRODUCTION OF TOPIC
Changing trends in news consumption and strategic implications for broadcasters
The Indian Media environment has undergone changes in terms of news consumption trends as well as news production techniques. This has lead to contours of "On demand culture" for News which has been furthered by the digital revolution in the news arena. News consumption is shifting from a passive act to a proactive, interactive and participatory act. 2008 has seen some tremendous changes in the way we gather, share and interact with news.nes today is becoming less linear, less controlled, chaotic however increasingly participatory. The relationship between producers and consumers is changing.
Examples of participatory news consumptions:
- Twitter showed its potential & network to distribute raw information in almost instantly in the case of Mumbai attacks and arrest of American student in Egypt. Many media broadcasters took to using this medium as a strategy to cover the news.
- In early 2008 the channel CNN has built a platform called Ireport .com which permits anyone to submit and upload content from anywhere in the world and a team of journalist scours the content to look for stories. It could also sell this contributor generated & created material on news wire for high margins.
- Another example would be Network 18 anchor Rick Sanchez used twitter to gather his story on twitter for Hurricane Gustav, showing conversations about the storm on screen. CNN even launched a daily show around it which was positioned as " audience driven hour of days news and smart conversation"
Today in the news sector what is changing is how people interact with news , when they acquire it and thus old news deliverers must definitely adapt to it.
The 24 hour television news channel in India today has become a meme. The random house unabridged dictionary defines a meme as a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes. Today there is nothing new or different in the way news channels telecast news stories. Activism, excitement, concern, & empathy all are packaged in the same way. Most channels look alive, behave alike, & talk alike. There is scarcity as regards to channel loyalty in television news.
Additionally with media proliferation, audiences are getting and more fragmented and thus news broadcasters are in a fight to gain new audiences. Garnering eye balls, retaining loyal customer, and targeting new segments to gain new audiences becomes extremely important in today times. But with changing consumption habits the same old strategies like breaking news, anchors, tickers may be becoming ineffective today. Thus broadcasters need to revisit these strategies to create differentiation and competitive advantage. The research plans to undertake a study on news consumption trends today the way forward and thereby look at strategies that broadcasters are using currently to tap the existing and potential news customer.
The research attempts will be to predict current & future news consumption trends and strategic tools used by the broadcaster.
The Indian news industry was for long governed uncontested by print media. Till 2008, the country consumed 100 million newspaper copies making it the second largest market in the world for newspapers. In 1976 regular broadcasting started in India and Doordarshan had monopoly. It was in 1991 that the concept of multichannel came into India with the advent of BBC, CNN, Prime sports, MTV and Star Plus. Since then with the increasing technological changes taking place there has been extreme competition in this segment as differentiators like breaking news, program choices, expertise, live coverage are slowly diminishing. Almost all news channels in India today are on the same platform / level today as far as capacity and resources available for production of news.
Internet slowly entered with new technological framework and changed the rules of the game. 2/3 rds of the internet users today visit the internet atleast 2-3 times a week. Thus consumption of internet is increasing not only in terms of reach but also in terms of impressions. News broadcasters have started teaming up with digital platforms to provide news on the internet as well as mobile mediums.
Social media is emerging as another platform for interactivity to take place in the news sector. More and more news is breaking first on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Flickr today even before being livecasted on news channels.
Also today, news is no longer the dull, uninteractive genre as it is associated to be. Increasing numbers of news channels are cashing in on interactivity by using citizen journalism / participatory journalism.
This new competitive media landscape has lead proliferation of channels, fragmentation of audiences and lack of diversity among show formats and content. This has lead to a fight among news channels to retain and grow audience numbers.
In this scenario first look at the displacement theory :
Kayany & Yelsma, 2000 used the displacement theory to suggests that with the advent of a new media the overall consumption remains constant and as consumption of one medium increases the consumption go another medium reduces. This would imply that as digital media grows, audiences would move away from broadcast and a change in news consumption habits would occur. However there are convergence theorists who argue that one need to look at the relationship between traditional and new media to understand how simultaneous consumption will change the way news has been consumed till now.
Users and gratification theory
Infante, Rancer andWomack, 1997 have used the U & G theory to explain how individuals use mass media to satisfy their needs.The U & G theory argues that people's needs and interests influence their use of a particular medium and how they respond to it. The idea is that the audience is self motivated to seek the kind of gratification that they want. With the advent of internet gratifying the need of immediacy it is important to relook at the motivations of the audience to turn to broadcast news and their gratification opportunities to construct effective strategies to retain and garner new audiences.
Thus although the theory suggest different needs / motivations of consumer there is no research done on the strategies undertaken by Indian news broadcasters to segment different audiences accordingly to different gratification opportunities and provide differentiated offerings to them and how this helps them gain a competitive edge with advertisers and viewers.
Let us look at a few theories which seek to explain convergent media behavior and look at MEDIA CONVERGENCE as a strategy:
Selective media theory
Stempel & Hargrove, 1996; Stempel, et al., 2000; Vincent & Basil, 1997 have endorsed the selective media theory which suggest that individual direct their attention to respond to specific stimuli in their environment. This implies that exposure to different media content is an active choice and individuals will seek information regarding contents that interest them across all media platforms. That is the consumption of sports news on one platform will lead them to consume the content in the sports space on mobile, online , broadcast and other platforms if the individual is interested in that particular section.
Dimmick, et al., 2000 in the Niche theory suggest that individual derive different gratifications from using different media. These gratifications would in turn depend on the modality of the medium and as the overlap in these gratification offerings is low in the news industry, the mediums would be more complementary than displacement.
Petty & Cacioppo, 1986 in the involvement theory suggest that individuals involved in obtaining information on an area are more likely to consumer news from all mediums to optimize their resources to gain maximum knowledge. Thus highly motivated consumers will seek information across various media outlets.
It is important to understand whether broadcasters today are using their multi platforms to generate interest in broadcasting medium and pull audiences from online to broadcast or they first break the news on broadcast giving out more information on other platforms. There are various opportunities for gaining audiences by using these theories and news channels today need to jump at them to create competitive edges for themselves. Convergence today has become the strategic option for many media companies although he levels of response from consumers still it make it possible to differentiate between Leaders, laggards and learner ( Denis et al , 2006 ). Thus at business growth levels convergence is linked to growth strategies in 3 ways : 1) Operational convergence 2) cross platform marketing where companies leverage their platforms and repurpose their old content for new viewers 3) developing on demand content thereby addressing viewer needs
Thus there have been clearly been changes in news consumption behavior especially in metros like Mumbai where technological acceptance, lifestyles and media environment are fast changing. 2008 witnessed a phenomenal change in the way we consumer news. Participatory media formats have lead us to not only gather news but enabled us to share it and produce it.
As demonstrated above, besides using convergent media to gain audiences, broadcast channels need to revisit their competitive and differentiation strategies.
For decades breaking news has been used as an age old strategy to establish exclusivity and garner eyeballs. With the introduction of similar technology, real time streaming and social media all news channels are breaking news at the same. Hence there is a need to explore the relevance of breaking news as a strategy and its effectiveness.
Program choice selection:
Webster and Wakshlag have identified the main factor in program selection as availability. They say if viewer choices are dictated by what is available to them. Many programming strategies are designed to stop the viewer from searching for a more gratifying program based on the assumption that if their program does not annoy them they will not change them. Thus the aim of many programs is to avoid displeasure. Jeffres (1978) called such programs "least objectionable programs" (LOP). However digital factors make this factor irrelevant in the future.
Apart from that they identified audience they watch a program with as an influencer and selection habits as another. They say if a program search is generally restricted to a particular number of channels which Heeter calls "Channel Repertoire". Thus viewers may avoid certain programs because the channel or network is not in their repertoire. However there is no research done on the branding and programming Indian news channels undertake to be included in the set of acceptable channels of a viewer.
Rosenstein and Grant (1997 have pointed out that habit is a factor for selecting certain mediums and offerings. However how broadcasters are tapping into this habit to develop channel loyalty is yet to be studied.
Weimann, Brosius, and Wober have shown that there is little variation in consumption of news content. When two people watch the same news program, one may watch it because of the program's specific appeal, whereas the other one is simply waiting for another program to come on. This explains their finding that "overall time spent with the news media is roughly the same, regardless of reported medium reliance" .Beaudoin and Thorson,2004 who remarked that exposure to news is not necessarily an expression of attention to news. Given the possibility of involuntary avoidance, one should remark that the reverse also applies: Lack of exposure to news is not necessarily an expression of lack of interest in the news.
Thus programming choices designed to meet needs of such audiences who express an interest can be used as a niche strategy to gain hold in such audiences.
A few programming segments that broadcasters need to look at are Late night viewers and Sunday morning program choices as strategic programming decisions. The PEW research center , 2004 has undertaken studies have been conducted in the US , research needs to be done on what news channels are doing to tap gain TRPs with these audiences.
Anchors as differentiators:
To look at anchors as brands for the news channels we need to view them as ingredient brands. The reason why companies for adopting ingredient branding as a strategy is that it helps the host brand to improve distribution accessibility, differentiate itself from other competitors and enhance the long term equity of the host brand (Desai and Keller, 2002; Norris 1992). The ingredient brand can also build end users' brand preference, stabilize consumers demand, and establish long-term relations with manufacturers (Norris 1992). Anchors / Tv show hosts can be looked in the same respect for news channels. Today Barkha Dutt ,Rajdeep Sardesai have become ingredient brands of the networks they represent.
Different segments news gratifications to study strategies for gaining their attention:
For youth audiences, the news consumption patterns become extremely critical as they get formed into habits for a lifetime around they time they leave for college.(e.g., Al-Obaidi, Lamb-Williams, & Mordas, 2004; Barnhurst & Wartella, 1998; Schlagheck, 1998).
Thus many media selectively target college students as a long term strategy to gain first advantage into new generation of consumers (Barnhurst & Wartella, 1998).
Motivations for media usage vary by age, with motivations to escape or pass time usually highest among younger viewers (Greenberg, 1974; Rubin, 1979). College students are susceptible to depression (Rich & Scovel, 1987), making them especially vulnerable to the formation of media habits that relieve dysphoria through attendance to escapist media content.
Edward Huang, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA, 2007 has undertaken a study Studies on how do what uses do youth make of news and what gratifications they derive from it have been undertaken in the US . The following questions have been answered through this study.
- Have news media failed to address the youths news consumptions objectives?
- What role does participatory news media play in satisfying youths consumption needs
- What are the best strategies in serving young new consumers?
To explore the question of emergent news consumption trends it becomes essential to explore the future users' news consumption patterns. With myriad options of news outlets, including the Internet, college students are emerging more as "news grazers," which means they check news periodically but do not have a particular time for news competitors (Pew Research Center, 2002). A new grazer are audiences which take advantage of the new media environment to check the news from time to time with no set patterns and with a passivity towards event and information. Thus they tend to follow the news on television with the remote control flipping the channel from time to time when they are disinterested. (Pew research 2004)
Thus the battle among television news providers to capture the grazing audience has been heated up. Commercial success in such an environment requires the news product to cater to the interests of the news grazer. Thus news producers today cover topics that are less likely to prompt grazers to switch to another channel.( Bellamy and walker 1996)
News providers have started downplaying political news to make it soft entertainment oriented news.( Patterson 2000)
The strategies that present broadcasters are using to tap this audience will determine the future leaders.
Senior citizens are the ones that have maximum time currency and thus strategies used to gain those eyeballs also become increasing important. Thus it is important to study this in the competitive landscape.
Thus changing news consumption behavior has lead to news broadcasters to relook at their differentiators, strategies and also identity and target new audiences while retaining old ones so as to avoid becoming irrelevant or obsolete in future.
NEED Gap: With the above mentioned technological and lifestyle changes there has been no study undertaken on consumption trends in 2008 - 2010 and thus predicting the future. Such studies have been undertaken for different segments in the US but not in the Indian context.
RESEARCH OBJECTIVE/ SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH
The scope of the research extends to both consumer trends in news consumption as well as broadcasters response and action to the same thereby drafting in conclusion the strategies which are used for differentiation in today's news scenario. The research objectives can be listed as below:
- To identify the patterns and trends in new consumption for various audiences
- To study the case Mumbai Terrorist blast to understand recent news consumption habits and delivery tactics.
- To list and rank the competitive strategies used by news channels to differentiate their offerings and gain new audiences
- To study the integration of print, broadcast, radio , citizen, digital , social & mobile media and their working with each other to carry news in todays scenario
As literature and current news cases such as Mumbai terror blasts, 9/11, Economic Times launching a channel reveal consumption of news has changed today. Thus delivery tactics must be relooked and strategies revisited as differentiation is almost nil in the news broadcast industry today. There is a constant struggle to garner new audiences and thus it becomes important to follow the new trends. There has been no study conducted on the trends in news consumption today and in future times in the Indian scenario.
Hypothesis: With the changing news consumption trends there is a need for broadcasters to align their delivery tactics and revisit their competitive strategies
- Are news channels truly differentiated in today's scenario? Is there any kind of channel loyalty? What are the strategies news channels are using for differentiation?
- What are the patterns and trends in news consumption for various audiences? How have broadcasters aligned their delivery methods to meet these news trends?
- How are various media integrated while provided news today?
The study is primarily exploratory in nature. I shall be primarily using qualitative tools to identify trends from current data viable and accounting for the broadcaster's perspective.
Extensive Tam analysis & study of viewership data already available
Areas of information:
- Demographic and basic lifestyle information
- Source of news consumption
- Response to news
- Participation in news production and delivery
- Channel loyalty
- Perceptions about different brands
- Consumption behavior for different genre of news
- Impact of :Anchors, tickers, breaking news, programming choices
- Programming choices & preferences for each segment
In this phase after identifying the trends in consumption patterns I shall be undertaking a qualitative research for a few broadcasters to understand the tactics and strategies used by them. The different treatment given by them to these segments shall be understood. Also the need for differentiation and their action plans regarding the same shall be understood.
Areas of information:
- Segmentation by broadcasters and different treatments of the same
- Tactics used by broadcasters to retain and develop channel loyalty
- Tactics used by broadcasters to gain new audiences
- Integration of traditional and new media by broadcasters
- Importance given to differentiation and strategies used to achieve the same
Tool used: In depth interview
I shall be meeting with experts in the broadcast company: Marketing, Programming & Editorial. Media consultants were interviewed to understand the working of the business. The following panel of experts was used in the discussion of various aspects.
Sampling: Purposeful Sampling
This method allowed me to select experts based on relevant work experience and knowledge of the industry. Thus the information collected was highly credible and reliable. The method also was convenient as I was the only one involved in the selection process. This allowed me to make analysis and thereby compare different perspectives. Further snowballing was used as a method of referral sampling wherein through networks of professionals experts were reached. These experts made valuable contributions to the field.
Case study method of analysis:
Detailed study of 2 TV news channels- NDTV 24 x7 and CNN -IBN have been undertaken. A brief programming review, convergence strategies, differentiators, marketing & branding strategies of the channels have been studied.
Each case covers interesting new emerging strategies used by that particular broadcaster during the period of 2008 -2010.
A single event based case study of how twitter was used during Mumbai blasts is also studied. This is used to study the effect of new media on consumption and the extent of the impact and implications it holds on the broadcasters.
This case method allows me to study changes that have happened in the last two years in Channel strategies and also news consumption. Thus it allows me to map the different strategies used by broadcasters and identify emerging trends.
Advantages of case study method:
"The case study method is most valuable when the researcher wants to obtain a wealth of information about the research topic. Case studies provide tremendous detail. Many times researchers want such detail when they don't know exactly what they are looking for. The case study is particularly advantageous to the researcher who is trying to find clues and ideas for further research. This is not to suggest, however, that case studies be used only at the exploratory stage of research. The method can also be used to gather descriptive and explanatory data. The case study technique can suggest why something has occurred. For example, in many cities in the mid-1980s, cable companies asked to be released from certain promises made when negotiating for a franchise. To learn why this occurred, a multiple case study approach examining several cities - 16 - could have been used. Other research techniques, such as the survey, might not be able to get at all the possible reasons behind this phenomenon. Ideally, case studies should be used in combination with theory to achieve maximum understanding" (Wimmer & Dominick, 1983:156). "The case study method also affords the researcher the ability to deal with a wide spectrum of evidence.Documents, historical artifacts, systematic interviews, direct observations, and even traditional surveys can all be incorporated into a case study. In fact, the more data sources that can be brought to bear in a case, the more likely it is that the study will be valid" (Wimmer & Dominick, 1983:156,157).
Disadvantages of case study method :
"There are three main criticisms. The first has to do with a general lack of scientific rigor in many case studies. Yin points out that too many times, the case study investigator has been sloppy, and has allowed equivocal evidence or biased views to influence the findings and conclusions. It is easy to do a sloppy case study; rigorous case studies require a good deal of time and effort (Wimmer & Dominick, 1983:157). "The second criticism is that the case study is not easily open to generalization. If the main goal of the researcher is to make statistically based normative statements about the frequency of occurrence of a phenomenon in a defined population, some other method may be more appropriate. This is not to say that the results of all case studies are idiosyncratic and unique. In fact, if generalizing theoretic propositions is the main goal, the case study method is perfectly suited to the task" (Wimmer & Dominick, 1983:157).
"Finally, like participant observation, case studies are likely to be timeconsuming and may occasionally produce massive quantities of data that are hard to summarize. Consequently, fellow researchers are forced to wait years for the results of the research, which too often are poorly presented. Some authors, however, are experimenting with nontraditional methods of reporting to overcome this last criticism" (Wimmer & Dominick, 1983:157).
Even with these limitations, the methods provide a lot of possibilities as it is very flexible. It allows deep study of a specific subject. Thus having specified the method, the unfolding chapters refer to the case in point.
Theoretically, through the findings of the research, the user gratifications theory, nice theory, selective theory and involvement theory will be tested. I shall use these theories in the news genre and test the application of the same in this genre.
On the practical front, the testing the hypothesis shall have practical significance for the broadcasters. Additionally the trends indentified and predicted for the coming year shall have strategic implications for news broadcasters. The trends shall enable the broadcasters' target their prospective audiences better and use tactics to compete, differentiate & garner new audiences.
NDTV 24 X 7
Founded in the year 1988, the channel was India's first and largest private producer of current affairs, news stories and entertainment .The brand NDTV 24 * 7 is the market leader and holds an unrivalled reputation for excellence. The following strategic initiatives for growth were undertaken by NDTV .
Reliance Infocomm (2004): s
In 2004, the channel tied up with reliance Infocomm, India's largest mobile service provider to provide on the hour news updates of actual newscast with streaming of videos of NDTV news. This enabled Rim customers to watch streaming videos of election updates as well as other news coverage on their handsets.
Southern Edition (2006):
In 2006, the channel announced the launch of a 'southern edition '- a daily news show using opt -out telecast technology - for its viewers in Tamil Nadu, Kerela & Karnataka. This show is on air on weekdays at 7 30 and on weekends there is an extravaganza of region specific programming.
FTA (2007) :
In 2007, it was converted to a FTA channel in the CAS notified areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta.The channel is still a pay channel in Chennai.
Durand Cup (2007):
In 2007 NDTV decided to get into telecasting the live broadcast of Durand Cup 2007.No other news channel in India had beamed live sports before this. The reason behind this was that football viewership has been growing in India. The target audience is mostly 15 +, in SEC A+, A, B+ and B segments.
Apart from news the channel also airs other programs like "We the people" and "The big fight" which are hugely popular. The channel continues to produce original content such as documentaries and special reports featuring political news, entertainment reports and cricket.
The channel also has an afternoon weekday segment of the business and market news thereby encompassing all programs offering for their core viewer. The channel has an innovative approach to programming there taking the first step in news shows.
Very recently it launched Newsnet2.0 which involves consumer engagement in the production of news as well as syndication of online content. It covers he hot topics which are currently exciting netizens across the world. It provides a 360 vision of all the mediums that people use to discuss their views on contemporary issues.
Weekend programming: The weekend programming comprises an array of non news shows like Documentary 24 x 7, cell guru, picture this and others. There are also shows recapping and discussing the weeks news events.
Weekday programming: A one stop solution for all interests of the target audience , on weekdays the channel provides news offering in sport, politics, business, national and current news.
The Key shows
- We The People- This powerful opinion-based show, hosted by Barkha Dutt, puts eminent panelists at the mercy of an enquiring public, throwing the floor open for discussions on the issues affecting the country and its people and ensuring that the average citizen has his or her say.
- The Big Fight- Hosted by Vikram Chandra, the show pits those on opposite sides of an issue against each other in a lively and often heated debate. What emerges from the sometimes controversial opinions is a thorough 360° view of the key national or global issue at hand.
- India 60: Verdict- NDTV's flagship news programme, India 60 Minutes, is complemented by this special debate segment on the major controversy of the day. Designed to be interactive, it lets viewers have the final word on the big issue in that day's news, be it from politics, sports, entertainment or business
- Bombay Talkies- Sreenivasan Jain takes a walk with Mumbai's renowned personalities, through an area that is especially significant to him or her. The freewheeling chat format of the show touches upon a range of issues, showcasing new facets of their persona. The show has featured people from all walks of life, including the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Thackeray, Nusli Wadia, Shatrughan Sinha and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
- Walk the Talk- One of the flagship programmes of NDTV 24X7, it is a technical first in the Indian television industry, being the only programme in the country to be shot in one take. For four years and with over two hundred episodes, Indian Express Editor-in-Chief, Shekhar Gupta, has travelled and questioned every eminent national personality at a place of special relevance to the guest. Amongst the stellar guests the show has had, were all three of India's recent Nobel Prize winners - Dr. Amartya Sen, VS Naipul and the Dalai Lama." www.ndtv.com
NDTV Convergence the new media arm of NDTV encompasses an array of digital media and mobile media services to provide a complete solution to advertisers and tap into the mobile/net savvy audience of today's times.
NDTV ACTIVE :
NDTV active is packaged with various mobile sites consisting of text based content like news, movies, astrology, music, lifestyle and stocks powered by NDTVs online content. The portal is monetized through ads, sponsorships, plus offering some sections of the portal on a subscription basis. He channel is looking at content syndication and they want to tie up with mobile operators to provide content for their mobile portals.
NDTV convergence launched a free SMS service with July systems in partnership. The service called MISMS will enable mobile users to access multimedia content via sms. Users of this service can get the latest news, videos, stocks, and cricket scores by sending the short code to NDTV. The content is hosted on NDTV active which is NDTVs existing mobile portal. NDTV active receives about 15000 visitors a month. From its mobile services NDTV is targeting to achieve Rs. 4. 3 crore in revenue which comprises 15 % of their total revenue.
NDTV website looks more like a general interest website than a serious news website. They have launched properties in lifestyles, entertainment, jobs, gadgets, health, auto, music, books, cricket and mobile.
Video consumption on VDTV had gone up 6 times in last 6 months. This acted as a trigger for NDTV to launch a content aggregator site. The company wanted to tap into the video consumption patterns of netizens in India. The sources of revenue are advertising and videos hosted by other channels on the site.
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
NDTV social is another medium of driving consumer interactivity. It provides you with a meeting place for your favorite anchors, presenters & reporters on NDTV. This is connect to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The network also provides you with an option of live chat where you can interact with the channels ambassadors. Each of the pages have have an average of 1000 fans in the last 2 years.
MARKETING AND BRANDING
Experience truth first. This positioning is based on NDTVs continued commitment to accuracy, honesty and speed. The look of the channel has been created to match international production values.
An advantage that the channel has is its star line up of anchors and reporters including Pranoy Roy, Bharkha Dutt , Sonia Singh and Rajiv Makhani.
Barkha Dutt- The face of fearless journalism, Barkha Dutt, Group Editor-English News, excels in news reportage and incisive analysis. She is renowned for her intrepid work in conflict reporting from Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East. The winner of over 20 national and international awards, Barkha has been conferred with the Padma Shri for Journalism in 2008. She steadfastly follows her own mind, forging ahead with the credo: "Be willing to be unpopular as it makes your reporting more honest."
Vikram Chandra- Vikram has been associated with NDTV since 1994 and is one of India's best known anchorpersons. He presents 'The Big Fight', which has long been one of India's top rated news and current affairs programmes and 'Gadget Guru' along with several other special shows. Previously, Vikram was the Managing Editor of NDTV Profit. As a special correspondent, he has extensively covered the Siachen & Kargil wars, and the conflict in Kashmir. Vikram has been named "Global Leader for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum in Davos and won the Indian Television Academy Award 2008 for "Best Anchor for a Talk Show" amongst other coveted recognitions.
Sonia Verma Singh- Senior Managing Editor, Sonia Singh is an NDTV veteran and has been with the company for 16 years. As an anchor of the popular show 'Verdict' and the 9 'o' clock news, she has won both critical and viewer acclaim for her work. Conferred by FICCI with the 'Young Leader Award', Sonia has interviewed country's top politicians, bureaucrats and stars. (www.ndtv.com)
Sonia Singh has successfully anchored and editorially managed news ranging from three different governments at the centre, to the Kandahar hijack, Sonia Gandhi appointing Manmohan Singh as India's Prime Minister, the Gujarat riots and many other pivotal stories.
Sreenivasan Jain- Managing Editor of NDTV 24x7 and host of popular show 'Bombay Talkies' Sreenivasan Jain is based in Mumbai and has been associated with NDTV since 1995. Reporting on virtually every major national and international story, Sreenivasan specializes in reportage on terrorism, investigations and national politics. With a body of work varying from covering every major National and State Election in India, the Afghanistan war, the Sri Lanka conflict, and the 2000 Presidential Elections in the US, he has won national and international recognition for shows like 'Witness'.
Sonali Chander- Sports Editor and Anchor, Sonali has been with NDTV for more than a decade. She has repeatedly bagged top honours at television awards shows and is especially beloved by critics and viewers for her work on 'Cricket Controversies'. Having inherited her father's passion for sports, Sonali has made cricket coverage as exciting as the game itself.
Nidhi Razdan- Senior Special Correspondent and anchor of the popular current affairs shows, 'Left, Right and Centre' and 'India This Week', she has made a name for herself covering some of the most challenging issues - the Gujarat earthquake, insurgency in Kashmir, the London bombing and the nuke deal amongst others. She also has to her credit many heart wrenching documentaries on Iran
Vishnu Som- Associate Editor and Senior Anchor NDTV and with more than 7000 hours of live broadcast experience, Vishnu has anchored through some of the biggest breaking news stories in the world. As a journalist, he has closely covered the Afghanistan, Iraq and Kargil wars and the Siachen conflict. He has fearlessly reported during the Tsunami, the Gujarat earthquake and this year's floods in Bihar. A documentary film producer, Vishnu has received an Indian Television Academy Award for best min-series in 2008. Vishnu has also been conferred with UN Fellowship for Young Journalists from Developing Countries.
There are 2 types of marketing activities undertaken by the channel:
Channel Marketing - thereby establishing the credibility of the channel. Here the channel tends to push its anchors, past coverage and consumer testimonials to build an imagery of the channel.
Program/ feature marketing - Upcoming programs, feature stories which are done exclusively on NDTV are promoted in order to establish equity with the consumers as well as the advertisers.
These activities are undertaken to build imagery with the advertisers and consumers so that brand associations with the channel enable it to charge a premium on its advertising rates.
Differentiation: The channel has differentiated its offering by positioning itself as the channel that gets the maximum live reports. Its international technology has enabled the treatment of a story to be different as against its competitors. The star line up of anchors lead to differentiation it terms of how the story is projected in the eyes of the consumer. This is further elaborated & supported by the consumer in depth interviews.
CNN-IBN is India's Best English News Channel, and is one of the most respected and dynamic media brands in the country today. CNN-IBN has in a short time, redefined the limits and has set new standards for journalism in Indian news television through its differentiated programming and philosophy of inclusive journalism the spirit of 'Whatever It Takes'. CNN-IBN continues to be India's window to the world and world's window into India. CNN-IBN has been awarded all the prestigious awards in the General News category in the country.
CNN proves fast paced hard core news shows. They focus on current affairs and a continual mix of sports, weather, business and general news. The channel primarily concentrate on serious news. Their programming does not allow any special focus on shows. However it does repeat the news throughout the day thereby tapping audiences at different times of the day. The network models most of its programming mix on the CNN channel in United States .This comprises current event news talk shows mixed with news reports.
Weekday programming: The schedule revolves around serious news bringing light through different anchors and perspectives throughout the day. The flagship evening program, India at 9 is usually broadcast daily although it is not a simulcast except for breaking news situations.
Weekend programming: Their weekend programming also revolves around news but the treatment is lighter.
Key Shows :
Secret Kitchen : The food show by CNN IBN brings to you the varied and tasty cuisine in India.
Living it up : This season, CNN-IBN's signature health show focusses on urban lifestyle health problems & offers solutions.
Real Heros : CNN-IBN and Reliance Industries Ltd is honouring 24 'Real Heroes' from across the country who've done exceptional work in their fields with little or no recognition
Out of the box: The four-part CNN-IBN series scouts for India's most creative minds across various disciplines
Art of investing: If you have just been caught by the art bug and are looking to make an investment, here's how you can do it
To catch star : CNN-IBN puts the hottest Bollywood stars on the hot seat every week. Catch this engrossing chat every Saturday.
Differentiation on the basis of PARTICIPATORY JOURNALISM
CNN IBN has established itself as a pioneer of participatory journalism. The channel offers the common man or the citizen to tell his/ her story. It is one of the first channels which used the concept of citizen journalist whereby any person can send in a story or a report which is aired on a different special segment.
This segment got extended and expanded by including mobile citizen journalism. This allows Indian citizens to take snaps which can be used by sending via MMS to the news desk of CNN IBN.
CJ is a 52 week phenomenon in India which celebrates the efforts of citizen journalists in India. This path breaking initiative was started in the year 2008 and has become the platform for empowerment for citizens in India that is built on the principles of inclusive journalism and democratization of news. The objective is to create awareness that a normal citizen of a country has the power to bring forth the truth.
The citizen journalist show is a dedicated show on the channel that runs as a short episodic series throughout the year.CNN IBN has been honored for empowering citizens to participate in the news gathering and news production process.
Speaking about the initiative, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, IBN18 Network,said,"The principle of inclusive journalism lies at the heart of everything we do. The Citizen Journalist Awards takes citizen involvement to the next level by providing the citizenry an empowering platform so they can articulate the issues that are closest to their hearts and become involved in the news creating process. With these awards we salute our courageous countrymen who have raised their voice against injustice and hope that they serve as a shining example to others in the coming years as well. Citizen Journalist Awards will reward the best citizen journalists who have made an impact with their effort to find truth and we are sure that this will encourage more participation from our viewers."
Speaking about the award, Ashutosh, Managing Editor, IBN7, said,"Citizen Journalist Awards is one of the best examples of citizen empowerment which encourages the citizens not be a silent spectator to the anomalies in the system but to take a stand and voice their concerns by becoming a Citizen Journalist. As we recognise the efforts of some of our outstanding Citizen Journalists, we hope to inspire many more to report from ground zero on issues which may be close to their heart."
Speaking about the award, Nikhil Wagle, Editor, IBN-Lokmat said"This initiative has taken off really well with the Marathi viewers and empowers them as citizens of India to take up causes and to report things of national importance that would help improving the society at large. We hope with this initiative many more individuals will come forward and help make a better society."
MARKETING & BRANDING
- We have whatever it takes to provide credible news
- And we will take whatever it takes to get to you.
Whatever it takes:
This phrase 'Whatever it takes' has its roots in the never-say-die spirit that pushes people to accomplish the impossible. It's redefines limits by challenging a person's own potential. CNN-IBN believes that this spirit is embedded in the DNA of the channel. It speaks of a team of over 4,000 passionate truth seekers across the world over, who are putting their feet down, and walking together on a common path. These people are about standing up to authority and then asking them why. They are ready to do whatever it takes to bring a nation of one billion people face to face with the truth.
Awards and events:
The channel undertakes various awards and events to expand its media bouquet. 2 such awards are CNN Young journalist award and CNN Indian of the year award.
CNN Young Journalist Award :
Target Audience: The CNN Young Journalist Award is specially targeted at young journalists within the age group of 22 -28 in India and Pakistan in the print/televison and online categories. The CNN Aspiring Journalist Award by the channel is targeted at journalism students who are awaiting results or are about to appear for the final examinations, This award that is CNN Citizen Journalist Award is open for application and eligibility to citizens of India, [only those who are not professional journalists] and encourages and motivates them to play an active and aggressive role in the process of collecting , gathering and disseminating news and information on issues or topics that have an impact and influence on society.
CNN Indian of the year award:
This particular award of the channel award is the most prestigious, credible and biggest awards of recognition in Indian media . These awards celebrate, honor, & recognize Indians who have some contribution to building brand India in our country and strengthening Indian society.
Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, IBN18 Network said, "In past three years CNN-IBNIndianofthe Yearawardshave evolved to a significant stature, recognizing the outstanding contributions of the Indians in various categories. This initiative is an attempt on our behalf to honour those who have shown promise and excellence in their respective fields. The immense success of the initiative last year, including participation by some of the country's most distinguished citizens, has raised the bar for this initiative. We are looking forward to a great show this year as well."
Anchors an Reporters:
The faces of CNN are what add credibility to the channel. These anchors are connected with the viewers on blogs, twitter, face book and through chat. The line up at CNN IBN is of journalists and hard core news reporters. This is in tune with their brand values and mission. Some of the popular faces which add loyalty to the channel are:
Rajdeep Sardesai comes with 20 years of journalistic experience during which he has covered the biggest political stories in India. Prior to setting up his own channels, he was the Managing Editor of both NDTV 24X7 and NDTV India and was responsible for overseeing the news policy for both the channels. He has also worked withThe Times of Indiafor over five years and was the city editor of its Mumbai edition at the age of 26. During the last 20 years, he has covered major national and international stories, specialising in national politics. He has won numerous other awards for journalistic excellence, including the prestigious Padma Shri for journalism in 2008, the International Broadcasters Award for coverage of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for 2007. He has won the Asian Television Award for talk show presentation and has been News Anchor of the year at the Indian Television Academy for six of the last seven years. He is presently the President of the Editors Guild of India. He has done his Masters and LLB from Oxford University and has also played cricket for the Oxford University team.
Suhasini Haidar is the Deputy Foreign Editor and Prime-Time anchor for CNN-IBN, regularly anchoring its award-winning show [email protected] She entered the world of journalism in 1994 with an internship at the CNN's United Nations Bureau in New York. She worked with the CNN in New Delhi after that, as a producer and then as a correspondent until she moved to CNN-IBN in 2005. Suhasini regularly covers the sub-continent, frequently reporting from Pakistan. She has also travelled with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to cover his official visits to the US, France, Russia, NAM, SAARC and CHOGM and is the only journalist to have interviewed Singh, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, and their daughters. Suhasini's also been in the field covering elections in Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir for CNN-IBN. She received her Bachelor's degree at Delhi University's Lady Shri Ram College and her Master's at Boston University's College of Communication. When not at work Suhasini turns off the TV and loves to read, swim and walk. When she is lucky, her two daughters, dogs and husband join in.
Diptosh Majumdar has been a journalist for the past 26 years. He started his career withThe Statesmanin Kolkata. He moved toThe Telegraphand was the Deputy Chief of its National Bureau in Delhi in the 90s. He later joinedThe Indian Expressas a Senior Editor. He is one of the key members of the core team that started CNN-IBN in 2005. A leading journalist, Diptosh has travelled extensively, both in India and abroad, covering politics. He is a known commentator on politics and elections. Diptosh Majumdar is currently National Affairs Editor CNN-IBN.
Sagarika Ghose has been a journalist for 20 years, starting her career withThe Times of India, then moving to become part of the start-up team ofOutlookmagazine, subsequently joiningThe Indian Expressas Senior Editor. She was anchor of the flagship BBC World programmeQuestion Time Indiabefore moving to CNN-IBN as prime time anchor and Senior Editor. She is the anchor of the award-winning flagship debate programmeFace The Nationon CNN-IBN. She is also a columnist for theHindustan Times. She has won numerous awards including FICCI Media Achiever Award and Gr8-ITA Award for Excellence in Journalism. She is a graduate in History from St Stephen's College and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University where she gained an MA and M.Phil in History and International Relations. She is the author of two acclaimed novelsThe Gin DrinkersandBlind Faith, both published worldwide by HarperCollins Publishers.
TWITTER AND MUMBAI TERROR ATTACKS
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were more than ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India's financial capital and its largest city. The attacks, which drew widespread condemnation across the world, began on 26 November 2008 and lasted until 29 November, killing at least 173 people and wounding at least 308.
( Chidambaram, P. (2008, December 11). Lok Sabha Press Release. Retrieved April 11, 2009, http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=45446 )
As the nation was trying to come to terms with the tragedy, a small number of Mumbai citizens decided to go down at the scene and started reporting the attacks. Most of them took photos of the areas surrounding them and gave eyewitness accounts of the tragedy. They primarily used micro blogging tools. Micro-blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micro media such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, digital audio or the web.
Amongst these tools, Twitter emerged as a tool which seemed to provide minute by minute updates of the on ground situations. Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or applications such as Tweetie, Twitterrific, Twitterfon, TweetDeck and feedalizr. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees.
Most of the initial reports were broken through twitter, whereas the mainstream media was unable to reach the scene. Twitter became the source of information of the ongoing events for the first few hours of the tragedy, until the mainstream media stepped in and covered the event. In the initial hours, citizen journalists played the role of first responders and relayed information over the internet in a bid to reach as many people as possible. As soon as the crisis started, tweeters became active and tweeted under Mumbai.
As the twitscoop shows, searching the keyword Mumbai, one finds that more than 750 messages were being tweeted in the context of the Mumbai terror attacks every minute, which means on an average of 12 tweets per second about the tragedy. This number corroborates the fact that twitter was one of the most used mediums to disseminate information about the crisis.
A case study of the role of twitter is done to understand the usefulness of twitter in the scenario. Content analysis of the tweets of two tweeters is done. The two tweeters mumbaiupdates and mumbaiattacks were c hosen for a variety of reasons. First, these accounts were set up solely to cover and report the Mumbai attacks. Secondly, while a person was looking to find tweets on the event, his search terms Mumbai, attacks, terror would lead him to the above mentioned accounts. The names chosen for the accounts would immediately connect with the audience and they would tend to follow these tweeters. mumbaiupdates and mumbaiattacks had the largest number of followers (379 followers and 92 tweets) and the largest number of tweets (264 followers and 273 tweets) respectively. The number of followers is probably the only way the credibility of a tweeter over a short period of time can be determined. These names would also sound credible while they are re tweeted.
Yet another tweeter followed was ibnlive, which was the representative of the English news channel CNN IBN. This was done so as to allow comparisons between how mainstream media and citizen journalists were using twitter to disseminate information.
Findings & Analysis
As it has been seen from the twitscoop, twitter was extremely fast in getting information relayed across the internet. Since the CJ's were the first people to arrive on the scene, the first reports of the tragedy surfaced on twitter, long before mainstream media could get to the scene and start reporting. City residents published minute-by-minute updates to the internet using social media platforms like Twitter, providing the latest facts along with local detail and context as the atrocity unfolded. Updates started appearing on Twitter several minutes before those on local news channels and roughly an hour before they did on CNN and BBC, with Twitter users speculating about loud blasts emanating from various places in and around Colaba, South Mumbai. In the first six hours of the crisis, none of the international news channels were covering the Mumbai terror attack in any meaningful way the news was often updated on Twitter (much) faster than on international news websites 18. Updates were passed on to other users or retweeted making the flow of information even faster. Twitter quickly became the source of real time information and the hash tag #mumbai.
Information on Blood donation, hospitals and emergency contact numbers was freely re tweeted across twitter as people realized that the need of the hour was also to provide care for the injured. Tweets 10 giving out contact numbers of JJ hospital and St George Hospital were re tweeted by many tweeters, thus making timely information available to the public. Phone numbers were given out for US, UK, Australia citizens to call and enquire about their family members. Contact details of the Mumbai police was tweeted in order to allow Mumbai citizens to give out any information they may have. The Taj Mahal hotel and the Oberoi hotel help lines were up and the helpline numbers were tweeted.
Several constructive actions and initiatives were taken by Twitter users, such as publicizing the descriptions of one of the terrorists, the cars that they were said to have carjacked and the fact that they had even carjacked a police vehicle.
A list of injured/dead people was made available online, much to the relief and/or anguish of people all over the world. Yet this was another way in which twitter proved to be useful. The human face of Twitter took on another dimension when local users offered to try and call the friends and family of foreigners.
In a very short while, several websites and blogs collated much of the information on Twitter. The Mumbai help blog, Global Voices Online, Mahalo and even Wikipedia had done a good job in collating the information and gave a comprehensive view of the whole scenario 19.
Furthermore, many Twitter users showed a substantial amount of restraint regarding operational details and troop positions, despite the fact that such details were broadcast on some news channels. Tweets admonishing the mainstream media were common. The two tweet accounts under analysis stopped their updates for a while in order to ensure that any important or confidential information does not get leaked out.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest failures of twitter was that most of the updates were chaotic, disorganized and unverified. From being a crowd sourced version of news, it became an incoherent account of the event, with tweets and re tweets. In fact, the message "All Live updaters - please stop tweeting about # Mumbai police and military operations" was re tweeted over and over again. It was said that the government of India has requested the tweeters to refrain from posting any more details regarding the operations, as the terrorists inside could have access to it. The message turned out to be a hoax, as the government had not released any such notifications. The update seemed to have started from a concerned and well meaning tweeter, but unfortunately did not serve any purpose. The danger of circular and cross referencing also came to light. The BBC picked up this update from twitter and 11 wrote about it. Most tweeters picked up the tweet and it spread all over twitter. The BBC later accepted this fact, and assured more caution in the future.
The faith in collective intelligence of people is questioned, as they could not separate fact from fiction. Rumors went a few times around on twitter before they were corrected. There is a need for further research as to how the collective intelligence of people works in times of distress and crisis.
The research also indicated that most of the tweets were actually picked up from the mainstream media. The number of citizen journalists on the ground didn't seem to be substantial in number as the tweets were news bytes picked up from popular news channels and websites like CNN IBN, NDTV and the BBC. This would undermine the claim that twitter could be the next big thing in journalism, because of the lack of the substantial citizen journalists' reports being retweeted. Even in the case that enough citizen journalists were present on the ground; their tweets were not picked up or widely circulated across twitter. This could arise from the fact that the relevant information was lost amongst the pile of second hand information floating around on twitter.
Challenges to Twitter
Twitter indeed played a significant role in the Mumbai terror attacks. But yet twitter cannot leapfrog into a realm that is currently occupied by the mass media. Twitter has come a long way since its inception but it has a few severe limitations which it needs to overcome before it could merit any serious discussion as an alternative to mainstream media.
One of the chief reasons why twitter may not be able to play a significant role in participatory media is that it was never built or envisioned as a reporting tool, but as a listening tool. The core philosophy of twitter is to answer a simple question "What are you doing". It is meant for people to follow tweets rather than to report via twitter. Since the philosophy of the service is not in line with the current needs of participatory journalism, twitter might have to undergo some changes before it becomes a tour de force in participatory media.
From a more practical point of view, the limitation of 140 characters is a huge drawback for twitter if we were to use it as a reporting tool. It could very well be used as a service to break news or report headlines, or even share links to webpage's detailing a particular report, but pushing twitter any further to move into more complex areas of mainstream journalism is a considerable challenge.
Yet another challenge to twitter would be finding relevant information in the midst of useless information floating around. Even in the case of #mumbai, with about 750 tweets every minute, it becomes very difficult to sift through tons of information to locate the correct and relevant info.
A major drawback of Twitter would be the fact that it cannot capture complex issues like Terrorism in the short space available. It would require considerable amount of debate, research and analysis to form intelligible and informed opinions on issues of national or even global importance. Constructive debate and discussion has often been seen as the hallmark of good democracy. Twitter, currently stands incapacitated to perform such a function.
The point is not to rubbish the Internet's new-found prominence in the field of journalism. It simply shows that our exciting, virtual , new online world hasn't completely come of age yet, and we haven't fully evolved the model as to how citizens and journalists will simultaneously cooperate and compete to deliver the news to the aware and demanding consumer with an increasingly short attention span albeit intense interest. We need to understand where participatory media works, and try and better exploit the potential it has to offer. It could very well take up the role of first responders to a crisis situation and attempt to construct a support network in the immediate hours after a crisis. The areas where they do not or cannot play a significant role, like the interpretation of the crisis and the monitoring of authority we should not channel our energies there. Twitter in general and Citizen Journalism is particular should concentrate itself to filling gaps left by the mainstream media. Once these unmet needs or gaps are fulfilled we could appreciate our understanding of how we consume news a lot better.
DISCUSSION ON VARIOUS KEY ASPECTS
The percentage of non new programming in broadcast news media is increasing.
There is limited inventory present in the news genre. The content gets static as inventory becomes dead. Various channels take different approaches to the problem. A channel like Times Now focuses on in-depth analysis of the same news. It has found a niche audience which demands detailed new reporting and coverage of stories. Whereas news whereas an NDTV has positioned itself as a lifestyle oriented news channel. Thus there expand their properties to include wider shows and reach wider audiences. A CNN IBN talks about bringing you the right news at the right time. It has built itself up as proactive innovative serious news provider.
"News today has become like a thali. Consumers are demanding various feature programs and niche programs. Thus if the audiences are demanding different content what is the harm in a news channel trying to provide it? "- Rajdeep Sardesai, CNN -IBN
As the economy is growing, modern formats and lifestyles and luxury goods will come in. The consumers are interested in knowing the repercussions of the same in their life. Thsu when a news channel presents a Bentley to the consumer, they can showing it just the way it is or present by showing Abhishek Bachchan driving it. They can choose to make the experience more interesting and engaging.
"Some of the channel have been successful in this strategy by im
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