I remember the days when Doordarshan was the only channel available on TV. (This channel still exists even though today most of sane people haven’t wasted any channel numbers of their TV for DD network channels). Now there are around 10 news channels available for people to choose from for viewing, excluding those comedy Hindi news channels..After watching news delivered by them over the years, I have found various issues with them, which will only get alleviated in the years to come.
1. The news channels dont deliver news; they deliver raw information; in IT terms just data They will talk about inflation, world economy, politics throughout the day but dont mention even one way how the news directly affects the common man or what changes he needs to make after watching this news. As a result the connect between what the news channels deliver & what the public wants is fading day by day.
2. The biggest problem of news channels is they keep on persisting with some news for 2-3 days completely on a trot and after they find some other hot topic, they completely forget about the previous one and switch to the new one. The viewers who got to watch nothing but the former news for those days , now become clueless about the later happenings of the case as the news channels have moved on to some other masala news…
3. Even for popular issues with actual public interest, the news channels fail to produce the news which the public is actually concerned with or cares for. Take the example of IPL. The channels focussed mostly on the controversy surrounding the tournament, entire day for almost 1 week. Lets us understand what does IPL mean to people. There is a match everyday at 8’o’ clock for almost 2 months, each one having enough tension, drama , excitement. Hence IPL is perceived mainly as a 3-hr entertainment reality show for office- going people who come home tired at around the same time. Such people are really not bothered about who made money behind the scenes, how much money was made, et al..(Is news about corruption really “exclusive” ?) Then why waste so much of resources on news which people are not really concerned about? It can be given sufficient time on air but just broadcasting same news the entire day is not justified.
4. I have read many articles from journalists arguing in favour of news channels. They state that had channels been not good enough, they would’nt have survived for so long. According to me , the channels survived because the viewers had no other real options.The problem is, today access to the internet is getting cheaper & easier day-by-day. A person can read all the news of his liking & interests on his phone , while travelling in car. He doesnt really need news channels to deliver the news to him and that too which the news channels push onto him.Also the ability of news channels to broadcast live videos is now no longer unique to them.
In all my previous 11 posts, I have always tried to concentrate only on those issues which affect us directly and where some changes can be made by us in our capability. The news channels need to follow similar path of pull based news delivery & not the current push based one (sorry for using MBA language), or else they will become irrelevant in the face of fast, customized news access on the internet.