Anil Thakraney: Will ABP News eschew sensationalism?

18 Apr,2012

By Anil Thakraney


So, STAR News is ABP News. Now the two partners have decided to separate. Cool! But my question is: Will this just be an exercise in name change, with all else continuing to be the same? Exactly as the messBombaycontinues to be after the name changed to Mumbai? Ditto with Bengaluru and Poschim Bongo. (As for the last, it’s getting messier with Didi in charge, but I shan’t say more, else she’ll get me arrested.)


Well, I hope not. Now that Ananda Bazar Patrika has total control, I hope the Bengali group, known for its ‘respectable journalism’, extends that respectability to ABP News. STAR News, along with the other Hindi news channels, has always thrived on speculation and rabid sensationalism. It’s almost as if the category owners had decided that Hindi news watchers are restless morons, folks who will only come back if the content is absurd and outlandish. This is obviously not the case.


The problem is, the channel owners DECIDED to be sensational; in their war for ratings, they chose that route. The viewer never asked for it. And in this march of madness, all the Hindi channels fell like nine pins, as each struggled to beat the other guy on dishing out dramatic stuff. Net result: There is very low credibility with the Hindi news channels. We visit them for tamasha, not authenticity.


The point I am trying to make is this: ABP has that chance now to set things right. With the baggage of ‘STAR News’ off their back, they can re-engineer the channel, and ABP News can become that one Hindi channel that takes news very seriously. It can break the cycle of sensationalism, and position itself on the platform of credibility. In any case, with all the hair-raising content on display amongst the various channels in the category, this will provide ABP News a clear brand differential. So it seems to make sense from the marketing point of view as well.


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Yup, India badly needs a Hindi news channel it can trust. And hopefully ABP News will try to be that. One sincerely hopes the name change doesn’t only mean a change of name. Like when Bombay became Mumbai. And continues to be a filthy slum city.


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PS: Cute commercial from Audi. It’s inspired by the fairytale of how the ugly duckling changed into a lovely swan. Superb execution.


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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Will ABP News eschew sensationalism?”

  1. Omni says:

    Their content is anti-Majority community in India. All programs that they telecast are only to defame Hindus.

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