No successor to Joy Chakraborthy named, testing times ahead for TV Today network

18 Jul,2012

By A Correspondent


On the face of things, it’s meant to be a simple parting of ways. Although outgoing TV Today Network CEO Joy Chakraborthy has quoted personal reasons and being away from the family based in Mumbai as his reasons for moving on, the industry has been abuzz with stories about the sudden departure.


Joy Chakraborthy
Joy Chakraborthy

India Today group Group CEO Ashish Bagga confirmed the departure of TV Today CEO Joy Chakraborthy to MxMIndia on Tuesday evening adding that no replacement had been announced it.


Mr Chakraborthy had joined TV Today on December 1, having quit Zee Entertainment as executive director (revenue and niche channels) in October 2011. In September, G Krishnan had announced his departure from the Network. In the new organization realignment, Mr Chakraborthy reported to Mr Bagga.


The news channels and radio station that come under the TV Today umbrella have been under severe pressures thanks to a weak market and competition from other networks. While India TV has been a clear trendsetter in popular Hindi news, ABP News (eka Star News) has been galloping ahead. Sadly, for Aaj Tak, the name change has not adversely impacted the MCCS-owned Hindi channel.


In fact flagship Aaj Tak has been going through an identity crisis for a while. Should it be a serious news channel and be recognised for the journalistic values that the India Today group stands for? Or should it be populist with dumbed down news and toe the line of the Rajat Sharma-run India TV? Sibling Headlines Today, the English news channel from the group, has also made little headway. Save a few spikes since it was set up, it’s just not caught the attention of the viewing public and continues to lag in ratings and revenues. Ditto with Oye 104.8 which is low on the RAM roster. The rechristening from Meow to Oye may have helped shore up some numbers, but it’s not been good enough.


With an investment from the Aditya Birla group helping improve its financial muscle, the TV Today was poised to grow much in the next two years. Regional channels, digitization, acquisitions, Phase 3 of FM radio were some of the plans that required nurturing. Mr Chakraborthy, who is a seasoned media professional, was to lead this effort.


But now it will mean the collective efforts of Mr Bagga, chairman and editor-in-chief Aroon Purie and his daughter Kalli Purie who heads the group’s digital operations and looks at synergies within the businesses and is also Chief Creative Officer to take TV Today to the leadership position it once occupied.


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