Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mediawatch: Cutthroat Competition driving Channels to Harikiri

Arun Nayar who? Liz hurley Who? Who cares, anyway? So what if no one cares? The media wants us to care. And so it thrusts Arun Nayar-Liz Hurley on the poor helpless reader/viewer day after day, hour after hour!

But the viewer and reader will not choose to remain helpless and hapless forever.

Take me, for example. I used to be a regular with the English Channels. Of late I've begun to find them irritating; and progressively more irritating. Now I find them thoroughly disgusting.

CNN IBN, TIMES NOW, NDTV and HEADLINES TODAY – in the order of disgust.

I have always felt ashamed of my taste for trivialities, my weakness for sensational reporting. Guess that’s why I jumped with joy when HEADLINES TOAY was launched, and then CNN IBN and then TIMES NOW.

But I didn’t bargain for the levels to which these channels were prepared to stoop to conquer. I can never forgive Rajdeep Sardesiai for his inability to conceal his glee when Promod Mahajan was shot by his brother, or his provocative statements on the reservation issue, inviting/(coercing ?) students take the matter violently to the streets, brashly reminding them of the Goswami immolation attempt.
I cannot forgive any of the channels for drooling over the Bachchans and Khans, for wasting time space on them when more burning issues needed to be presented to the anxious viewers.
Yesterday, amidst all the hullabaloo about the Arun Nayar-Liz Hurly business, HEADLINES TODAY flashed the news of high intensity earthquake that had hit Indonesia. No More news was forthcoming. I switched channels but found none of the other channels had anything on it. And then, hold your breath!! HEADLINES TODAY withdrew the flash news!!! Possibly because it realisd that other channels were not sufficiently interested in it, or ‘cos it didn’t want to cast a cloud of gloom over the Arun-Liz wedding!!!

But today, the TOI Hyderabad took the cake. The Indonesian earthquake claiming an official number of 82 deaths and trapping many under the rubble, and a possible Tsunami, were shunted to International page(page 19).

The channels need to realize that viewers are not idiots.
The channels need to get their priorities right.
They need to realize that there are a large number of viewers for whom socialites and actors are only of passing interest. The average viewer’s concers are different.

I have rearranged the channels on my TV. For a long time it was 1. NDTV 2. HEADLINES TODAY. 3. CNN IBM 4. TIMES NOW. My new order is 1. Regional News Channels 2. DOORDARSHAN(!!!!!) 3.BBC and then the other English News Channels. The order does not matter. Not any more. It’s a case of one worse than the other.

And I’m not the only one who has rearranged the channels.

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