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Branding the News Channels

Branding the News Channels

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03/18/2014

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Branding the News Channels in India

With close to 30 channels dotting the Indian skies and a few more in the offing, news is without
doubt the most happening segment in the television industry. As per a recent study by TAM Media
Research, the category witnessed a whopping 74 per cent growth in viewer-ship in 2004, and is
slated to grow further this year.

However, the entry of more news channels has also made for a lot of clutter in the market,
making channels realise the need for brand building. While channels such as Aaj Tak (Sabse Tez)
and Star News (Aapko Rakhe Aage) have positioned themselves on the speed and high impact
plank, Zee News claims to offer the most in-depth coverage. NDTV has positioned itself on the
truth platform, while Channel 7 claims to bring to its viewers everything that revolves around life,
with its Zindagi Live tagline. The new entrant in the news space market CNN-IBN is banking on
hardcore journalism aspect.

It is quite easy to break loyalty on television as all one needs to do is switch channels. Therefore,
it is essential for the news channels to tell the viewers where their core competence lies - whether
their channel's strength lies in delivering news faster than the rest, or whether it specializes in
providing the most in-depth information.

The Branding Exercise

The first and the most important component of branding is to have an appealing logo, which
reflects the strengths as well as the characteristics of the news channel. A lot of news companies
prefer to use bright colours like red and orange as they are very appealing to the eye. To ensure
greater brand recall, channels are investing in redoing their logos, which are designed to be in
sync with their brand message.

The Star News logo, for instance, underwent a major face-lift
recently, with the help of BBC Broadcast Design, which, according to
a spokesperson from the channel, has been designed to reflect the
channel's promise to impact the lives of its viewers.

In order to enable people to sample its channel, Star News has tied
up with the Mumbai and Delhi airports to play the channel in their
lounges. Channels such as Aaj Tak are trying to expand their
viewership through cross-promotions on other channels such as

Sony and MTV.

A recent trend has emerged in branding the new news channels. New or soon-
to-be-launched news companies, to bring more credibility in their news, are
tying-up with global news companies. Take for example, CNN-IBN. It is a joint
venture between TV 18 Group, GBN (promoted by Radeep Sardesai, former
Managing Editor of NDTV) and Turner International.

Similarly, Times Now, an English news channel from BCCL, owners of popular
newspapers like The Times of India, The Economic Times, Femina, etc., has collaborated with
Reuters.

Such tie-ups and partnerships not only manage to add to the content and infrastructure of
news channels, but also help in bringing in credibility to the news channels, thereby
helping them in brand building.

However, the biggest brand building for a news channel happens when its journalists (or Reporters) become brand in themselves. Lets discuss a few journalists that have become Brands, and thereby, helped (in some cases) build the brand of that news channel:

1. Prannoy Roy
Talk of NDTV, and the first name that you think of is Dr. Prannoy Roy.
The two are synonymous.

Dr. Roy attended The Doon School, Dehradun, and went to Haileybury
(UK) for his A-levels. He graduated in Economics from London
University's Queen Mary College in 1973. Then, he got his Ph.D. from
the Delhi School of Economics where he also taught for a year. He
worked as Chartered Accountant for sometime and later joined PWC,
India, before moving over to television.

He rose to fame with the program The World This Week and the election coverage with Vinod
Dua on Doordarshan. He has also worked for the Star TV. He specializes in covering elections.
. Rajdeep Sardeasai

He was the host of the award-winning talk show The Big Fight on NDTV
24x7, India's leading English news channel. He has also won numerous
awards for media journalism. Rajdeep is the son of the former Indian Test
cricketer Dilip Sardesai and Nandini Sardesai, an activist in Mumbai and
Head of the Dept of Sociology, St Xavier's College. He started his career with
TOI, and thereafter, moved to NDTV for a long stint. He was the Managing
Editor of NDTV when he quit. He has formed Global Broadcast News (GBN),
and with Turner International has launched CNN-IBN.

Rajdeep Sardesai can be credited of bringing the initial eyeballs to CNN-IBN
after its launch in December, 2005. If CNN-IBN were to be a big brand name in the future, it
would largely be because of Rajdeep Sardesai, who today is a bigger brand than his own
channel.

3. Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt is a popular television journalist with NDTV, India. She rose to
fame due to her excellent coverage of the Kargil War in 1999. She is hailed as
the "Indian Christiane Amanpour".

She hosts popular talkshow We The People in NDTV. Barkha is currently the Managing Editor of NDTV, a place she took over from Rajddep when the latter left the organization.

The list is long. The reason for the same is that most of the Indian English
News Channels have followed the popular American Concept of building brands out of their
journalists. This in the long-run has hurt NDTV as the rival companies have poached its popular
brands like Rajdeep Sardesai, Arnab Goswami, Anubha Bhosale and others.

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