Posts Tagged ‘NDTV 24×7’

CHURUMURI POLL: The A-hole of the year is…?

30 December 2011

As the year draws close, newspapers, magazines and TV stations unfailingly announce their man of the year, woman of the year, Indian of the year, product of the year, etc. So for Time magazine, 2011 was the year of the protester. For India Today, its newsmaker was Anna Hazare, as he was for NDTV 24×7. For The Week, it will be some unsung hero. Etcetera.

There is no reason to doubt these fine editorial choices, duly audited by Ernst & Young, PricewaterHouse Coopers and other fine accounting firms. But the world is not all full of heroes. The reason we have a man of the year, woman of the year, etc, is because several worthies paved the way for these worthy souls by gladly voting themselves out.

Call them the villains of the year. Or A-holes Of The Year*. Or whatever. It is they who enable our world to get its rightful share of heroes each year by their execrable behaviour, by their obnoxious conduct, by being what they are: A-holes. And you find them everywhere: in politics, business, sport, cinema, media, everywhere.

So, tongue firmly in churumuri-lined cheek, let us give them their due. Let them know we care. Let them know that their efforts do not go unremembered, unrecognised or unrewarded. Let them know we would be a poorer world without them. Let them know who they are.

Who, therefore, is your A-hole Of The Year*?


* cannot guarantee that the phraseology of this poll will meet the approval of everybody.

One question I’m dying to ask Barkha Dutt

30 November 2010

Barkha Dutt, the “massively influential but ethically embattled TV news anchor” of  NDTV 24×7, is subjecting herself to a massively advertised, pre-recorded public inquisition with four carefully chosen peers to extricate her credibility out of the sludge that the Niira Radia tapes have thrown her and her channel in.

Cruel wags are calling it “We, the Peepli [Live]”, “The Buckwas Stops Here”, “The Buck Stops There”.

What is the one question that you are dying to ask Ms Dutt that the Delhi journalists are likely to have missed. Please keep your queries short, civil and journalistic.

Photograph: courtesy Eric Miller/ WEF via The Daily Beast


Also read: BARKHA DUTT on the allegations against her

‘Credibility is like virginity and it’s been lost’

86% feel let down by journalists’ “CD baat

Everybody loves a nice admiration club

Lessons for Vir and Barkha from Prem and Nikhilda

Has media credibility suffered a body-blow?

NDTV response on Barkha Dutt

Vir Sanghvi‘s response to the Radia tapes

Never let facts come in the way of a good story

20 May 2009


The general elections in India might have thrown up a clear winner, but the general elections on TV continue to throw up a fractured mandate. Nothing illustrates this better than the claims and counter-claims of the TV stations on who captured more eyeballs on counting day, May 16.

Times Now poll coverge tops viewership ratings,” reads the headline of a news story in The Times of India which owns the channel.

Times Now wins the election,” screams an advertisement in the same paper.

“According to viewership data compiled by Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd, Times Now was ahead on counting day, May 16, with 8.05 GRPs, followed by NDTV 24×7 with 5.84 GRPs and CNN-IBN with 3.77 GRPs,” reads The Times story.

(GRPs is short for gross rating points, the currency used by advertisers to measure the popularity or reach of a TV channel. The higher it is, the larger its viewership is supposed to be.)

However, according to a report in Business Standard, among the English news channels, NDTV 24×7 had the highest GRP of 3.7 on counting day May 16, followed by Times Now (3.6) and CNN-IBN (2.7). In other words, Times Now was second, not first in the ratings.

Times Now claims it has been number one for 26 weeks since its coverage of the November 26 terror attack on Bombay and that the channel’s lead grew in the pre-poll period. But another rival, CNN-IBN, has claimed it was No.1 on at least three of the five polling days.

And as of this morning, CNN-IBN has begun touting itself as the “Clear No.1” on polling day, according to TAM ratings.

As if to underline the gap between English media and language media, BS says Aaj Tak clocked GRPs of 20.2, followed by Star News 17.2 and India TV 13.1. English news channels usually get an average GRP of around 1 or less on an average day.

Aaj Tak was No. 1 on polling day,” reads the headline of a story in the tabloid Mail Today, both of which are owned by the India Today group. “Aaj Tak was the most searched news source on Google India on May 16… In the 100 key words for the day, variants of Aaj Tak featured four times.”

If journalism, old or new, is about the truth, Indian television stations seem to be stumbling at the first post.

Cross-posted on sans serif

One rule for Modi, another rule for Chidambaram?

2 March 2008

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Saturday afternoons don’t figure highly on the radar screens of TV channels. Because they are all in the “hills” smoking cigars, eating caviar, and calculating how much richer the soaring valuations have made them in the week gone by, channel heads all believe this is the time when the aam janata, after biryani and a glass of beer, are too groggy to pay attention and keep the “People Meters” ticking.

So this is when they sneak in soft not-so-newsy stuff—travel, food, books, letters, automotive, spirituality, gadgets—and other “events” and other stuff designed to keep in the media plans of advertisers.

But the afternoon of Saturday, 1 March 2008, was different. It was the day after the 2008-09 budget had been presented by P. Chidambaram. And it was the afternoon the Union finance minister had decided to give his traditional post-budget interviews to the media after (presumably) a nice Chettinad lunch.

Network 18 with two business channels in its bow—CNBC-TV18 and CNBC-Awaaz—was given first shot.

Its managing director Raghav Bahl was to conduct the pow-wow and all morning, the network’s channels, including CNN-IBN, kept plugging the “First Post-Budget Interview”. It was to begin at 2.50 pm. But, as a sleepy nation waited for PC to explain what he had done, the clock stretched to 3 pm. Finally, it began at 3.15 pm.

Most of Bahl’s initial questions were on the waiver of loans for small and marginal farmers that is said to cost the nation Rs 60,000 crore. Where is he going to find the funds for it, Bahl asked—and asked—and asked. Chidambaram guffawed and gave that trademark “Look-I-went-to-Harvard-how-many-of-you-did” smirk which reporters from North Block to Sivaganga dread.

When Bahl continued to insist on an answer, PC said helpfully: “Look, whatever way you try to get it out of me, I am not going to reveal it on a TV show when Parliament is in session.”

But Bahl wouldn’t give up. And when he asked once more, PC said: “Look you are wasting your time. You might as well squeeze in your other questions.”

When an unrelenting Bahl pushed again, Chidambaram said “That’s it,” got up and walked out of the interview, while Bahl, who uses a walking stick, sat in his chair.

End of interview within three minutes.


You didn’t see the walkout “live” in your hypogogic haze, did you?

I did.

And the moment I saw it, my mind immediately raced back to Narendra Modi‘s famous walkout from an interview with Karan Thapar last October. That walkout was sparked when Thapar insisted on a “regret” from the Gujarat chief minister for what was allowed to happen in the aftermath of the Godhra train blaze.

First a Modi walkout, then a Chidambaram walkout, that’s yet another CNN-IBN “exclusive”, I thought.

But while the Modi walkout was the meat and drink for the channel and other media for days on end, news of the Chidambaram walkout has been very nearly blacked out. The walkout wasn’t replayed endlessly on CNN-IBN or CNBC in the evening bulletins on Saturday. The walkout didn’t become the “Image of the Day”. And the walkout finds no mention whatsoever in Raghav Bahl’s report of his interview on IBN Live.

So, what gives?

As the home of two business channels, with a Hindi business newspaper coming up, Network 18 cannot obviously afford to rub the finance minister on the wrong side. With a partnership with Forbes coming up, and countless FDI/FII/FCCB deals coming up, Network 18 cannot obviously make an issue of this minor conflagration.

Still, can there be one rule for Modi, and another rule for Chidambaram?

One rule for a chief minister with a past; another rule for a market-friendly finance minister?

One rule for a BJP man, another for a Congress man?

To his credit, Bahl eventually managed to convince Chidambaram to address the nation in his smug, supercilious best once again. So some lost ground was recovered. But as Chidambaram’s “first” interview on Network 18 and his second interview with NDTV aired at more or less the same time, the irony was stark and striking.

Cross-posted on sans serif