The news channels after dominating the Indian television screens for long are losing ground. There is growing disenchantment with the kind of content that is being telecast, and more and more viewers are switching to general entertainment channels (GEC), especially Hindi GECs.
Interestingly, Doordarshan News, which is a state broadcaster, is not slipping. It continues to hold on to its number 4 position. PriceWaterhouse Coopers in its study titled Indian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2010 attributes this to the “cleaner content” of Doordarshan News and its reach in areas where Cable and Satellite TV can’t reach.
The PwC analysts in their study give two reasons why news channels are losing out to GECs. The reasons are:
1. Weaker content: The news channels offer content that is not as compelling as the programmes telecast on General Entertainment Channels. There is also no improvement in news content. According to the report: “Though GECs are improving their content, news still adheres to the same format leading to boredom among its viewers. Hence, the surfing period for news has shortened.”
2. Masala news: The news channels focus less on “classical” news such as political news, elections etc. The focus is more on “masala” news. This is a very valid point, and many television viewers have been complaining of the frivolous reports that now populate Indian news bulletins.
One hopes that the news channels will give due respect to the report’s findings, and rework their content mix. News is serious business, and should not be turned into a spectacle.
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