India Today Television will have a visual look unlike any News Channel Today: Ashish Bagga

India Today has rebranded its English News Channel, Headlines Today, in a new avatar and christened it India Today Television carrying forward brand name into the channel which has been a prominent media player in the last four decade. The new version was launched on May 23, 2015 with an objective to carve a niche for itself in the English News Channel category. It is carrying on the legacy of India Today Magazine brand which has been synonymous with change and tradition of fearless journalism.

Even though the Group’s flagship Hindi News Channel Aaj Tak News (Hindi News Channel) has been able to build a connect with the audiences in the Hindi News Genre. The English Channel Headlines Today however has been looked as a laggard. In a bid to win the hearts of viewers who consume English News the group took the decision of rebranding the Channel to India Today Television.  As per media reports it is an integration of digital, television, print, social media and apps which will be headed by Kalli Purie, Chief Synergy Office, India Today Group. Rebranding has been done keeping in mind the much needed non linearity to attract more audience.

Rahul Kanwal had been the Editor-at-large in Headlines Today, but to further strengthen its position they had got on board Karan Thapar and later on Rajdeep Sardesai both in 2014, to ensure an enviable prime time with different perspectives. With Headlines Today rebranding itself as India Today Television they have also tied up with media experts like Jamal Shaikh and Boria Majumdar featuring in news based shows throughout the day.

Some of the eye catching shows from the group are ‘News Today at Nine’, ‘To the point’ with Karan Thapar, Newsroom, ‘couching with Koel’ etc.

Adgully caught up with Ashish Bagga who is the Executive Director of the India Today Group to speak exclusively on the process of rebranding to India Today Television, on bringing in high profile celebrities as part of the launch and many more. Edited Excerpts:

Adgully (AG): How long have you been working on this project?                  

Ashish Bagga (AB): We have been working on the launch of India Today Television for the last 6 months. However the decision was taken much earlier.

(AG): What kind of research has gone into this?

(AB): We have undertaken a series of qualitative and quantitative research on the brand through Chlorophyll Brand & Communications Consultancy Pvt Ltd. In addition we have also done an Eye Movement Test from MRSS to test what will work best in terms of the visual look of the new channel.

(AG): Other than changing the name of the channel, what are the other elements of the re branding process?

(AB): The new channel will have a visual look unlike anything on news television today. The multi-screen format makes possibility of multiple news feeds simultaneously on the TV screen. Award winning experts across business, defence, entertainment, strategic affairs in addition the prime team led by Rajdeep Sardesai, Karan Thapar and Rahul Kanwal will ensure prime news through a series of marquee shows. A series of new shows across lifestyle, business, entertainment, world news will also be launched. In addition to the existing flagship events like the India Today Conclave, India Today roundtable and Salaam Cricket a lot of new events will be launched in the next few months.

 (AG): Other than Amitabh Bachchan, who are the other celebrities you've roped in as a part of the launch?

(AB): We had also got Priyanka Chopra to lend her voice to the channel ID.

(AG): Which is your creative media digital agency which has worked on this project?

(AB): Ogilvy & Mather is the creative agency behind the launch campaign, while Maxus handled the media.

(AG): What kind of marketing spends have you undertaken for this exercise?

(AB): The marketing spends are to the tune of 5 – 10 percent of TV Today Network’s topline.

 (AG): Are there any new talent that you've roped in? What about any notable names for the prime time slot? 

(AB): Key appointments of Karan Thapar and Rajdeep Sardesai besides other key changes were done months before the launch which has already paid dividends in terms of viewership. The prime team of Rajdeep Sardesai, Karan Thapar and Rahul Kanwal ensure an enviable prime time with different perspectives.

(AG): What kind of role are Rajdeep Sardesai and Karan Thapar playing?

(AB): Karan Thapar will do what he does best, with his incisive interviews of the biggest names in the country. The show, To the Point with Karan Thapar, will have him debating with key panellists on the pertaining issue of the day, while the show, nothing but the Truth, features hard hitting interview of a key personality.

Rajdeep Sardesai on the other hand brings his years of expertise and experience to add perspective on news.

(AG): Have you got a new face for the channel?

(AB): No, all Key appointments had already been done long before the launch.

 (AG): Will you be adhering to 10+2 add caps?

(AB): No.

(AG): According to media reports, there is a statement that says, 'it will be an integration of digital, television and print'. So are you going ahead with specific content for various platforms or are you going with same content across all platforms.

(AB): What works on TV may not necessarily work on digital or the print media and vice versa with each media platform reflecting a varied news consumption pattern in comparison to each other.  This calls for content that will be customised as per the platform requirement, though there will be tremendous integration across digital, television and print to offer superior content.



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