As more viewers are engaged with news stories, 2013 can be termed as the inflection point for the news broadcast industry, said Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-chief, Times Now. He brings to the fore the fact that Indian news broadcast industry is 20 years behind the US in terms of chronology, 15 years behind in use of technology and 10 years behind in terms of programming. However, in the next ten years, India will be in the centre of global news broadcast.
Digital revolution waiting to happen
With democratisation of news content, augmenting digital conversations into live broadcast will be the way forward. News media owners are realising the impact of this and are seamlessly integrating feeds from social media into live broadcast, and this is just the start. “I am waiting for the impact of digital revolution to show. Consumers will not only watch general entertainment on digitally connected devices such as smartphones; they will also watch news. If you compare the statistics in the US, 51 per cent of users on smartphones watch news, while 61 per cent of tablet owners do the same. News will drive communications in a multi-screen world,” added Mr Goswami. Internet journalism will change while unique, specialised content, beyond current affairs will change the face of the news broadcast industry in a digitally enhanced world.
Need to trust the news broadcast industry
Mr Goswami cited the example of the broadcast coverage of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks by Times Now. “At Times Now, we had 11 reporters, out of which six were inexperienced; three outdoor broadcast vans; 22 people on production desk, 13 of whom were new recruits; three news anchors; six people on input and 10 desk personnel. Fifty-five people in all held the attention of the nation with the channel’s path-breaking coverage. Looking at the maturity of news coverage, ten years from now, the Indian TV news industry will be as powerful as the cable industry in the US,” Mr Goswami said.
In terms of scalability, he added that the news industry in India was at its inflection point. Nowhere is the industry changing as fast; no country is witnessing such growth. However, there needs to be immense trust put in this media.
According to Mr Goswami, the news broadcast industry has massive potential to hold the attention of viewers, even when there are no spikes. “News is what users tweet about, what drives conversations, and thus the impact created by news broadcast is enormous. However, Indian media houses spend, on an average USD 8 – 10 million in production per year. In contrast, Fox News invested USD 732 million on production in 2012, CNN spent USD 698 million in the same period. Just imagine the stage where Indian news broadcast can reach if investments happen that are even 20 per cent more than the current advertising spends,” he said.
Mr Goswami believes that the media agencies need to put their trust in news broadcast and not compare it to GECs or music channels. “Look beyond GRPs, look at the impact,” he concluded.