Daily Archives: 12 June 2015

Connecting alumni/nae with the greenhorns-2

12 June. Today is the fifth day of the Newslab – six day workshop at St Josephs College Autonomous, Bangalore.

It was indeed highly encouraging and flattering to see the progress in their news-writing by the students. I was very comforted.

The fruit of the hard work by DDF (my former student) and Sudipto, D. Kartikeyan (former The Hindu special correspondent and currently a PhD Scholar at the University of Edinburgh), Nikhil and Srividya. Their inputs were tremendous – straight from their field experience, peppered by their SJC learning.

I was especially gladdened by my former students pouring in during the last four days – beginning with Derek, Vaibhav, Mark, Priyanka Sachidananda, Varun Venkatesh, Pawan, Kashif Iqbal, and Joshua. Just a “hi” makes so much of difference! Both to me and to my students.

Waiting to see other alumni/nae on Saturday!

All Journalists Must Learn Video — Says AFP Chief

Video producer, Founder of Current TV

The ability to produce video packages is one of the most important skills a journalist can have, according to Phil Chetwynd, global editor-in-chief at AFP.

So says Phil Chetwynd, head of AFP, head of one of the largest and most influential news gathering organizations in the world. Today’s newsletter from Journalism.co.uk covers his recent speech at the World News Media Conference extensively, but we could not agree more. And this is hardly ‘news’ to us.

For more than 25 years we have been preaching the doctrine of video literacy for all journalists, of all stripes. In a digital world, there is no difference whatsoever between print and video (or stills for that matter). It is all digital news gathering and processing.

The great difference now is the iPhone (or smartphone).

Whereas once, creating video required taking a video camera along with your (or first, convincing your newspaper or wire service to buy you a video camera), the advent of smartphones (with astonishingly good video quality — AND built in simple editing apps), means that every single journalist is now carrying a broadcast quality video camera with them 24 hours a day. AND, it has the added ability to instantly deliver the content either to an editor or to a worldwide online audience.

This is revolutionary.

For far too long, journalists and media companies have thought of television as a separate beast — both complex and expensive to make and to deliver. Neither of these is any longer true. The web means that you can put video (television) into 3 billion homes instantly, and for free. The iPhone means that anyone can get their hands on broadcast quality equipment. (Let me correct that. Everyone already had a broadcast quality video studio in their pocket right now).

The hard part about journalism is knowing how to find and report a good story and do it well.

This, newspaper and news agencies have in abundance. It is their USP, their cutting advantage over a world awash in content. But the world is now video — the news world in particular.

In 5 years, according to Cisco, who should know, fully 80% of the content of the web is going to be in video.

And, in a rather sobering study just released by the Pew Research Center, millennials get their news from Facebook. Listing their top ten sources of news, not one of them was a printed newspaper. ALL of them were video-driven.


It’s clearly a video world. And it’s going to be dominated by video in the future. Any news organization that hopes to survive must become video-literate.

This is why we partnered with The Guardian seven years ago to create a 4-day bootcamp specifically designed to take journalists into the world of video. It works, and it only takes 4 days. But it is four days no journalist can afford to miss.


Continue reading All Journalists Must Learn Video — Says AFP Chief

India Today TV beats Times Now to be top English news channel

by Vanita Kohli-Khandekar
India Today Television just made it to the top of the English news television heap. Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data show that the channel that had been inching up on reach had already crossed leader Times Now two weeks ago. This week, it went ahead of Times Now in ratings, too.

While TAM Media research data confirms that India Today TV leads in reach, Times Now is still the leader in ratings according to TAM. “We are confident, given this flying start, that India Today Television will be India’s foremost English news channel in the times to come,” said Ashish Bagga, group chief executive, India Today group.

Analysts said Times Now was bound to react. But Times Television CEO M K Anand declined to comment.

For a channel that spent more than 10 years as Headlines Today, being rebranded as India Today Television on May 23, clearly, seemed to have worked. India Today TV is owned by the Rs 476-crore TV Today Network, which also runs Hindi news channel Aaj Tak. TV Today, in turn, is part of the Rs 900-crore (as of March 2013) India Today Group, which owns the eponymous magazine, among other media businesses.

The big question: Can it sustain its number one position the way sibling Aaj Tak has done for so many years?

Most media analysts pointed out that India Today TV owed its success more to distribution tactics than higher time spent on the channel. Sure, the re-branding and getting on board some names like Rajdeep Sardesai and Karan Thapar helped. But what tilted the scales in India Today’s favour was the use of a dual frequency. This means the channel is at two places, instead of one, on a single cable network.

“Both Times Now and India Today Television are on dual frequency on some of our networks,” said Jagdish Kumar, CEO, Hathway Cable.

Chrome Data Analytics and Media confirmed that India Today TV was last week using dual frequency on 70 cable networks (the highest by any channel) and Times Now on 29. “Dual frequency increases the chances of sampling. It is like buying two or more tickets in a game to improve the chances of success,” said Chrome founder Pankaj Krishna.

However, unless a channel has a strong distribution relationship or compelling content, a second place on the same network doesn’t come free. Just getting one spot (carriage) in a cable system could cost a news channel Rs 18-21 crore a year (excluding carriage fee on DTH). Being on two spots would carry a 50 per cent premium on average, explained Krishna.

Dual feeds are used tactically. For example, a sports channel might choose to be in the general entertainment cluster to get people to sample it. According to Chrome data, 150 of the 800-odd channels in India are currently using two spots on some or the other cable network. These include Zee TV, Max and Discovery.

Eventually, though, “the market share jump will have to come from continuous engagement, which will have to be driven by programming”, said L V Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research. Brand India Today’s credibility, a strong line-up of experienced journalists as key programming drivers, and strong marketing and distribution, “all played an important role”, emphasised Bagga.

The sustainability question is critical because English news is a minuscule 0.04 per cent of all time spent before TV by Indians. Unlike the profitable TV Today, most broadcasters in the overcrowded Rs 2,000-crore news TV market do not make money. The genre’s ability to sustain a high-cost strategy for long, therefore, is suspect.

For now, though, India Today is enjoying this week

India Today TV beats Times Now to be top English news channel | Business Standard News. Continue reading India Today TV beats Times Now to be top English news channel