Debrief: Headlines Today: Interactivity won’t bring in freshness

31 Jan,2013

By Anil Thakraney


‘Right to be heard.’ That’s the positioning Headlines Today has zeroed onto. I suppose they want to pitch it as an interactive news channel, where the viewers can take part and air their grievances. I don’t regularly watch Headlines Today, mainly because I don’t think the channel offers content that’s significantly different from the rest, so I suppose that’s the problem the owners are trying to fix. And interactivity is what they want to promise as the USP.


The commercial reflects the junta’s ire with uncaring, insensitive, useless politicians, who make false promises during the elections, win the votes and then quickly disappear. One portly neta is seen being put under pressure by all sorts of people (including his missus), till he hides himself inside a room, totally frustrated. While the entertainment value is low, the treatment will establish a connect with the audiences, because it reflects the popular perception of Indian politicians. So that’s fine.


My problem is with the promise: Active viewer participation on the channel. This will prove to be very tricky to handle, since interactive content can get a tad tiresome, as people shoot out their assorted grievances. Perhaps the viewers will enjoy one show a day based on this theme, but if Headlines Today wants to make this a core strategy, then they could be headed for trouble. In short, I don’t think this positioning is correct. Far from providing freshness, it may lead to boredom.


One other thing on the creative front: Our netas are die-hard buggers. Not one, repeat, not a single one has the conscience to get flustered by angry voters. So quite ironically, the segment that would find the ad entertaining is the politicians.


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Rating: (On a scale of 1-5): 2. Okay creative, weak product positioning


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