Friday, December 27, 2013

India's Worst News Channels - 2013



Americans are traditionally good at branding and marketing. However, till 1991 Hollywood, whose movies are distributed across the globe, had one serious problem. They didn’t have a news media brand that could be identified globally. BBC was known universally but no American channel had such wide recognition. All that changed on January 17, 1991 when a small crew stayed back in Baghdad to report on the first Gulf war. In a few hours CNN became a household name across the world. CNN was the first 24X7 news channel in the world to report live from various sites; particularly disasters, accidents and incidents. 1991 was also the year private channels came into India. Most of them borrowed the same format of CNN but, unfortunately, borrowed the worst from American media. While CNN has since had an international version our news channels became 24X7 without having enough news content. They mostly report from Delhi, Mumbai and other Metros. Naturally, this meant filling up time with irrelevant stuff and a heavy dose of Bollywood, Cricket, excessive repetition of stale news and most of all political witch-hunts.

Before long, these private channels realised they didn’t have a revenue model to sustain themselves and thus came in political propaganda, witch-hunts, sponsored programmes without declaration (which they now declare). Other sponsored programmes include summits, conclaves, sham awards and some even using political clout for survival. They also give each other all kinds of awards so it is fair that we have a people’s version of the ‘Razzies’ for the worst news channels. Therefore this poll was conducted here and we have the results.

A bit about the poll: Voters were allowed multiple choices and therefore the total number of voters (4052) and the total number of votes or percentage share will obviously not match. Only news channels that grandly call themselves “national” channels were included in the poll. And being a govt propaganda channel Doordarshan wasn’t included. Besides, DD doesn’t have the same problems and challenges as the private channels. The results and tabulation are appended to the post.

Here are the five honourable winners of “India’s Worst News Channels” poll:

5. IBN7 – Being one of the latecomers in the Hindi news category IBN7 never seems to have picked up at all. Worse, the managing editor of the channel, Ashutosh, has become more of a political activist than a news channel editor. There is a particular form of contempt for anything that is “Hindu” that pours out of this channel that is most unbecoming of any outlet claiming to be a news channel. Who else would want to dress up an Islamic terrorist as a ‘saffron’ terrorist? Ashutosh may not like a political party or its leaders but to be constantly pouring out hate-messages doesn’t do much for viewership either. I am surprised Raghav Bahl didn’t shut down this channel or at least sack the editor. In any case, I expect there will be a time not too far in the future when this channel may wind up.

4. NDTV India (Hindi) – Their website says: “This 24-hour Hindi news channel stands strong as one of India’s leading credible news channels – preferred by an audience which seeks quality programming and pure news, rather than sensational infotainment”. I honestly don’t watch much of NDTVIndia but for a channel that is as much a political mouthpiece for Congress to claim “credible” is good imagination. And there is hardly any channel in India that is “pure news”. Here’s a challenge: If you can name the editor of this channel then you are probably someone who knows their business because I had to check twice myself. The only redeeming feature of this channel appears to be the popular show with Ravish Kumar, otherwise they are no different from their English mother when it comes to “Congress ke taraf se defend kar dena”.

Being the Hindi sibling of their English channels both IBN7 and NDTV (Hindi) change their character dramatically (from their English versions) to include a lot of mindless drama and BigBoss and Saas-Bahu stuff which seems to sell with Hindi audiences. This is staple diet for AajTak and ABPNews which top the Hindi ratings. This is, of course, in addition to Bollywood and Cricket which are common across all channels regardless of language. Here are TAM ratings released on December 14:

Even in TAM ratings both IBN7 and NDTV (Hindi) are languishing at the lower end. There also appears to be a problem with the branding gurus at these channels. It is doubtful viewers want brand extensions in multiple languages. In that respect, although people are aware, viewers don’t easily confuse AajTak and HeadlinesToday to be the same brand as they might with extensions of NDTV and IBN. There are also other local Hindi channels which they are competing with which aren’t named here.

3. Times Now – Clearly the market leader in English news currently and therefore less disliked than others. Much of the entertainment from this channel comes from the nightly circus with Arnab Goswami. While sometimes enjoyable, Arnab’s style has also started irritating viewers and his over-aggressive behaviour has motivated other anchors and reporters of the channel to misbehave with those they target for questioning. Along with IndiaTV, TimesNow can share the credit for destroying the concept of ‘breaking news’. Mindless headlines like “Sonia gets into her car”, “Sonia reaches PM’s residence”, “Judge enters the court room” or “Modi remains silent” are flashed and screamed as breaking news. Every 2 minutes through the day some silly nonsense is breaking news. The only advantage TimesNow has over other channels is that Arnab still remains taint-free and enjoys the value of ‘personal integrity’ with viewers.

2. CNN-IBN – I often call this a “mom and pop” stores. As with their Hindi sibling CNN-IBN too becomes a political activist quite frequently. Their editor Rajdeep Sardesai and deputy Sagarika Ghose are both unfit for journalism. They would have made better Christian missionaries for something like World Vision. The entire IBN group had to go through the trauma of firing over 300 employees and doesn’t seem to have a business model. People are yet to forget shameful episodes like Cash4Votes, unwarranted defence of SoniaG and RahulG, playing defence for Robert Vadra and, of course, being anti-Hindu in tone of their content. It remains a mouth-piece of the Congress but given the party’s downturn in recent times the channel has switched to propping up the AAP party. The channel does have some good journalists who are often left to do minor programmes. As with Ashutosh, both Rajdeep and Sagarika are known for their hatred for Modi and the right wing. Sagarika too should have been sacked long back but the ones who scream the most about nepotism and moral corruption are usually the ones who also fuel it the most. Ignoble excuses like “tyranny of distance” or not enough “body count” to report certain incidents will be the permanent hallmark of CNN-IBN.

1. NDTV – There isn’t anything that NDTV isn’t No.1 at, is there? Whether it’s worst journalists or worst channel, NDTV rules! Each year this Congress propaganda channel only grows more brazen in its nonsense, lower in popularity and (probably) deeper in debt. How the channel which makes consistent financial losses and keeps rewarding its top personnel is a mystery. The taint attached to the top personnel of a company always sticks to the organisation too. The unexplained dumping of a CBIcase against Prannoy Roy, allegations of financial jugglery, Radiagate of Barkha and their hate campaign against Modi add up to this channel being voted the worst. It is obvious that NDTV survives and gets away with things only due to its political capital and clout. An anchor of this channel wanted to question the SC about some ruling. They hold a sham award function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. They even use fake pictures and videos to report a serious disaster like Uttarakhand floods. I estimate a certain level of trauma for this political channel whenever the govt at the Centre changes. Till then they will enable us to see the “larger” picture or send us reports from the “north lawns” of the White House. Thanks also to NDTV; we have come to read every news item as “alleged” news. They are deservedly the No.1 in this particular contest; India’s worst news channel.  

The channel voted worst in the poll has fallen even behind a relative newcomer like NewsX. Most readers of this site perhaps watch more of the English channels and therefore the worst ones could also be the most watched, given few options in English media. However, the votes polled proportionately reflect the viewer ratings by TAM too in order of popularity. Here are TAM ratings released on December 14 for English news channels:
It is also worth noting that each of the English channels claim they are No.1 in viewership with deceptive claims for different time-slots and events. Reminds me of the race where USA was declared coming in “second last” position by the propagandists. And the race had only two people; a Russian and an American. Do read Moneylife’s “TV channels hoodwink readers with misleading advertisements about themselves”. It is not just about themselves these news channels hoodwink people; they hoodwink viewers on many issues. It is increasingly hard to tell the difference between govt and news media. The watch has long gone out of the “watchdog”. But people are indeed able to see through them as the votes for the worst channels indicate. Our congratulations to the winners!

Poll results and tabulation
 

TAM rating figures… Thanks to @ASRaghunath.

41 comments :

  1. Post digitisation of channels was made compulsory, strict regulations on advertisement timing and form were to come in force. These would have left many channelsinking in no time. Despite viewers paying for digitisation nothing is happening on that front due to lobbying by these particularly news channels. Pleas do add issues and consequences of this in this blog.

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  2. Here are the five honourable winners of “India’s Worst News Channels” poll:

    Dear Ravi this heading is wrong


    It should have been dishonorable channel as there is nothing honor able about them waiting for you most honorable reporter poll as well

    May u grow leaps and bounds forever and ever.

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  3. Mumbai Aston Martin case. Perfect example of media crooks coming together to bury a story because Mukesh's son Aakash was behind the wheels, dead drunk. TOI, HT etc. all either took down the original story or later published sanitized stories which didn't have Reliance's name in it. Why don't you do a piece on it, Ravinar?

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    Replies
    1. Because both BJP and Congress are Reliance outlets.

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    2. but AAP is not in fact AAP is outlet of congress

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    3. Infact AAP is outlet of everybody just like prostitute.

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  4. Swami Rama Tirtha, one of the greatest saints of the world, commented on newspapers thus: "Newspapers lie; they lie again; So they are re-liable" Imagine the depth of his vision that this statement was made about 110 years back.

    Ramaswamy

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  5. Which channels are considered neutral or to some extent "Right" friendly?

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    Replies
    1. Newsx and ABP are comparatively better

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    2. Isn't NewsX owned by CONGI RAJIV SHUKLA?

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  6. Thank you Ravi. Very good analysis. It is sad that ABP news could not get to the top three. The way they are going they will be there sooner than later. Good luck till then.

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  7. Your analysis of MSM at large and Can-IBN and NDTV is beyond comparison. It's too educative for younger generation.

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  8. "Rajdeep Sardesai and deputy Sagarika Ghose are both unfit for journalism. They would have made better Christian missionaries"

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    Replies
    1. I actually rolled on the floor laughing

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  9. All the usual suspects are there in the rounding-up. I too voted and nice to see a lot of people see it the same way.

    Yesterday seeing the news, it seemed that the exoneration of Modi in SIT case was a side story and ordering Snoopgate commission was the biggest news. Imagine what nonsense was going on. Nobody was questioning Khangressis and mediapersons of their ilk that what has been the fate of other "investigations" that tried to implicate Modi - Sohrabudin, Ishrat, Zakia Jafri etc etc

    Suddenly this Ashish Khetan has become a "learned voice" on NDTV band of channels. Sanjiv Bhatt was also on so many channels. BJP chaps should highlight the misdeeds of all such jokers. Yesterday, Smriti did take on Bhatt saying who knows Blackberry stood for what payment to Bhatt. He could not say anything.

    Sanjay Jha has reached the top spot for the worst panelist. His achievement. One unadulterated fool.

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  10. Dear Ravinr, simply superb agenda of the day. Thanks for your careful analysis of these Media Crooks, and bringing them to the public. Being an NRI, I follow India very carefully than many of the Indians and I agree 100% with your opinion and remarks. I would have rated CNN-IBN on top of the list, since Rajdeep and Sagarika are truly anti-Indians. The link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9uimq6Jnu8
    proves further how they are anti-Indians. Sometime, one can pardon of being biased for a particular political party, but being biased for the county is just not acceptable. The above link proves their Anti-Indianism and India should ban them for ever to enter into journalism. They are nothing less than terrorists.

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  11. great to know results.. !!

    As expected NDTV is clear winner here. I congratulate them for this victory. :D


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  12. yesterday a court made a decision that CM of Gujrat is not guilty for the unfortunate 2002 riots. But if we watch any news channel we can clearly find that they were only discussing snoop inquiry commission set up by Congo. If any person who doesnt do surfing he/she may never know that any such decision were made by any court. Its sad day for our nation!

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    Replies
    1. Sir,the Gujarat court didn't make decision that 'Modi is not guilty in 2002' The DECISION was already taken previously.The GUJARAT court simply rejected to accept Jafri's petition! But the #PaidMedia MORONS are not even ready to accept it openly!

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  13. There's this young anchor on Zee/Business who dresses like Arnab Goswami minus the specs and starts screaming like a banshee desperately hoping people will take him seriously. He cracks me up every time.

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    Replies
    1. :) His name is Anish Devgun...I think he wants to be known as Poor Man's Arnab!

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  14. In 6 months time, let's hope this bunch of crooks get's out of the alleged journalism and is made to pay for its crimes.

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  15. Hey mediacrooks i am commenting 1st time on your website ,
    though i am reading from past 1.5 years , i appreciate your work ! Keep going ..

    Below is a link that of your interview with NewsLaundry !
    Good to see the comments !


    http://www.newslaundry.com/2013/01/spanker-anonymous/

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  16. "How the channel which makes consistent financial losses and keeps rewarding its top personnel is a mystery"-it is and it was not any mystery to you. tehelka has revealed it to others. those who are interested in stock market and keen to know company before investing also aware of the promoters,stake holders. As reliance pumps its illegal money into some channels,like cnbctv18, there is no dearth of crook/s like ambani, jindal, mallya, murthy,.... who are spending more on channels to hide their misdeeds(especially 'loot' of public money) and propaganda for their political clouts.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. I am a regular reader of this blog. Thank you for publishing the results. The losers need not worry, they seem equally worthy of the awards. They can try harder next year. I did not vote here because i stopped watching TV over 15 years ago. I was always convinced that large part of news is motivated or paid news. A year ago, i stopped reading newspapers also. I am very happy now and find that i have about 15 free hours each week to focus on things i wanted to do.

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  19. Hi Ravi,
    Great work . Another blog is due . "India's Worst Panelists" . This time Top20 Please .

    Probably you can exclude Sanjay Jha , So the contest will be for position 2 to 20 .
    Regards,
    Santosh

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    Replies
    1. Good idea! You are right abt this Jha.What abt Vinod Mehta? Renuka Chaudhary/ Tweesta Setalvad? Manish Tiwari?

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    2. Jitendra.. Actually the competition for the first place is too much. Damn !!

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    3. to me its a tie between Teestha Setalvad and Amee Yagnik ( Guj - Cong)
      As far as Sanjay Jha and Vinod Mehta are concerned, dude, they are really amusing these days...I mean they can make your day when u listen to them before getting to bed...u'll sleep with a laughter

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  20. Hi all:

    Request all to read the article ONE MAN STANDING, by NV Subramanian on Newsinsight.net, in which he clearly exposes the danger Modi is facing & the future prospects of India without Modi.

    Excerpts from the article.

    ~ Between India and anarchy stands Narendra Modi, and the Congress party, its political partners, Western powers, China and Pakistan are determined to remove him from the way.

    ~ But in attempting to halt Modi in his tracks, the Congress is prepared calculatedly to hurt itself, as it has done in Delhi by propping up Arvind Kejriwal.

    ~ Reconciled to losing the 2014 election badly, the dynasty appears keen to buttress Arvind Kejriwal to neutralize Modi. One giveaway to his scheme is the sudden animation of Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s all-powerful political secretary, who, according to the press, managed to get the Aam Admi Party on board.

    ~ Almost certainly, the Congress party will use the Aam Admi Party to absorb the people’s anger against it, and employ Kejriwal’s newfound celebrity to upset Narendra Modi’s applecart in North India where it most fears his march.

    ~ The grand old party is wizardly in entrapment. It has compromised the bulk of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi establishment, and its hatred for Modi stems from his refusal to sell out.

    ~ With Modi’s arrival, and the country’s unstoppable rise under his leadership a given, their entire devilry is frustrated. This may cast up as a surprise but Narendra Modi faces the direst threat to his life abroad. Intelligence officers go so far to suggest that Modi should undertake no foreign trips for the full duration of his first term as prime minister.

    ~ And if he (Modi) is removed, India will be joined in anarchy. You can write off this nation for a whole generation.

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  21. Please watch Sudharshan News which is fully hindustani News channel
    http://www.sudarshannews.com/news/

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  22. I unsubscribed to Times Now after being forced to see verbally-violent Arnab's show every night and also noticing how he stopped himself from accusing the Dynasty - Sonia/Rahul and at times taking sides with Congress.

    NDTV is now established as pro-Congress channel; everyone knows it.

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  23. Is this not the time to switch over to good old DD for news and then switch to social media? Post June 2014, when BJP is most likely to win under Modi, DD may be revamped and rejigged as a good competitor to these crooks.Way back in 1977, AIR changed its tune overnight for the better.Then came PRASAR BHARATI and then came back dynasty.Let us pray for a better DD and demise of these channels manned and womaned by crooks.

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    Replies
    1. Even now, to be really fair, the DD channels, Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV still have better quality of discussions and analysis.

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  24. The best news channel is India Tv News ....Sudarshan News ,,,And Zee News 1 2 3 ...please watch only these channels for better news .......

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  25. Read your post really that was amazing news channel But please update about Total bollywood. Thanks

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  26. ndtv,aajtak.abp sud be ban in ol hindu dominated area. not a single paisa sud be allowed to go to this channel from people. bcoz ol money of this channel is invested in hindu geanocide activity across the world. barkha dutt,rajdeep sardesai,prasun vajpai,sagarikha ghosh ol r terror & under world link media. most liar anchor.

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  27. this is also fake ndtv is good channal and better than zee news

    ReplyDelete

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