Anil Thakraney: NewsX needs the X. Very badly

18 Jul,2012

By Anil Thakraney


No, I don’t watch NewsX. There are two reasons for this. For one, as far as the English news channels go, I have my plate full. With NDTV, Times Now and CNN-IBN. And that’s already more than I can handle. There is simply no appetite left for another ‘helping’. In addition, when I am in a particularly foul or salacious mood, I log into the Hindi news channels. Like India TV and Aaj Tak. And there’s no question of being able to deal with anything beyond this, as far as television news goes.


Second, and more importantly, when I have accidentally dropped by at NewsX on the odd day when I am mindlessly surfing, I have noticed they have absolutely nothing new to offer. It’s just a bad copy of the leading English news channels, a poor me-too. So there’s been no motivation to go back.


Within the above two reasons lie the key problems for this fledgling news channel. The English news channel market is saturated and very busy. Regular TV viewers have formed their individual loyalties, and it’s really tough for a late-comer to grab attention. No wonder NewsX has been languishing on the sidelines for four long years. And worse, because they have nothing fresh to offer, the channel will continue to languish.


Now, to be fair to NewsX, the channel has seen enormous tumult since it was born. Friction within the senior management partners, ugly controversies and frequent change of ownership. Already placed in an extremely competitive market, this is not the kind of stuff they needed. The channel staffers should consider themselves fortunate the brand has survived thus far. And now, yet again, NewsX has a new owner: the ITV Group.


I really can’t understand why ITV acquired the channel; it neither has the ratings nor the distribution. But their best bet now is to do one thing very quickly. Which is to get the X-factor injected into NewsX, the one and only ingredient that will help it survive. That critical factor is the only thing that will help the channel develop a distinctive identity. And if that doesn’t happen fast, it’s good bye to NewsX. And the saddest part is that no one will even notice when the channel’s gone.


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PS: ‘Take the stage.’ A good campaign released by Adidas, especially for the UK market. This is not just to motivate the Brit athletes but also to create a buzz around the Olympic Games. Would have been nice if there was such an encouraging film produced for the Indian athletes. So that they don’t lose their passion even if Kalmadi lands up at the games to say a warm hello. 🙂



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