Our focus will be on Constructive Journalism: Prabal Pratap Singh
IBN7, the Hindi news channel from the TV18 stable, is set to be rebranded. The channel has also refreshed its programming line-up with several new shows.
IBN7’s rebranding follows the rebranding of another channel from the TV18 group, when English news channel CNN-IBN was renamed as CNN News18. IBN7’s current tagline, ‘Hausla Hai’, will also be changed as part of the brand revamp.
In conversation with Adgully, Prabal Pratap Singh, Consulting Editor, IBN7, speaks about the refreshed programming strategy, focus on digital, issues of credibility faced by the news media sector and more. Excerpts:
What is the thought process behind IBN7’s refreshed programming strategy?
Some of the new programmes are already infused. We have two debate shows back to back. We felt that the issues concerning people were not being addressed adequately. That is why we took a decision of making this network one which addresses issues concerning the general public. With this thought, we started the two debate shows back to back. Apart from that, Astro Show Karm Path was introduced two days prior to Diwali.
It’s been five months since you rejoined IBN7. What are the changes that you have introduced since your joining?
This is my second stint with IBN7. Earlier, I was there from 2006 to 2011. It has been an exciting journey. I know them and they know me. As far as change is concerned, a couple of new shows have been introduced – ‘Aar Paar’, which is committed to debates every day at 7 pm, and then we have ‘Sau Baat Ki Ek Baat’ at 9 pm. We have also introduced a weekly crime show, wherein we focus on crime stories. We also have a show, wherein we showcase exclusive stories and we have broken many stories, including flyover scams. We have broken many stories recently including Mumbai flyover scam and Delhi cow shelter scam. We are also planning to launch a new show wherein we will showcase our exclusive stories and sting operations.
As far as BARC ratings are concerned, IBN7 is placed at No. 3 or No. 4 positions. What are your plans to scale up?
If you look at the numbers, they are consistently increasing – there have been substantial increase in the numbers. We are getting traction; it won’t happen in a day, but will consistently increase and week by week it is going up and not coming down. The strategy is to stick to it, focus and bring on the issues.
All media houses have shifted to digital and are doing well. IBN7 was a pioneer in digital, but has somehow lost out to the competition. Do you think digital has become all the more challenging, given the entry of players like Quint, News Minute, Catch, etc.?
As far as digital is concerned, we have news on digital, debate shows on digital. We have news for our digital platform, our reporters file separate stories for digital. We have a digital approach and digital is core to us.
In the last few years, broadcast media has faced a lot of credibility issues. Where do you think the broadcast industry is heading, keeping today’s media landscape in mind?
My answer to your question is, Smart Question! If you are being viewed by a section of the people, it means what kind of agenda they are heading. I am very hopeful, abstract to the entire television industry and I still believe in it and I still trust it because somewhere I know the power of common man. If a common man faces the problem, he doesn’t go to the police station, he goes to the television journalist and says, “Meri madad karo (Please help me)”, and we feature his story on television, we somehow empower the common man. Since, the common man’s expectations are very high, we are very hopeful. I don’t think we are heading towards the wrong direction.
What are your key focus areas for IBN7 in the coming year?
The focus will be on ‘Constructive Journalism’. We will challenge the order and make sure that our desire for fearless journalism creates a positive impact on society.
What are the broadcast media trends that you see shaping up in the near future?
I think there is much more growth, especially in the regional media markets.