No dedicated shows on astrology, crime, religion on News Nation: Abhay K Ojha

News Nation, the national Hindi news channel from News Nation Network, was launched in February 2013 with a basic premise of “ideal viewer connects”. The channel aims to address the ground realities and complexities of diverse and multi-layered India and demystify news into relevant absorbable facts. The channel’s ideology is to respect viewer’s intelligence and provide them with “News they can use”. 

Adding to the bouquet, News Nation Network launched a regional Hindi news channel – News State Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand – in February 2014. The differentiation of its regional offering stands out in the fact that it carries mostly regional news, which is thoroughly covered to the level of every district of both the states. 

As per BARC ratings, while the national Hindi news channel News Nation ranks amongst the Top 5, its regional channel News State UP/UK has been No. 1 in the twin states since many weeks. 

In a quick chat with Adgully, Abhay K Ojha, President – Sales & Marketing, News Nation Network, traces News Nation’s five-year journey, competition in the Hindi News genre, TRPs & revenues and more. Excerpts: 

News Nation has completed 5 years. How was the journey been so far?
The journey till date is on a growth trajectory. Since the launch of the channel, it has scaled up the ladder and today it is amongst the Top 5 Hindi news channels. In terms of revenue, too, every year we have been growing steadily. 

How challenging has it been making inroads in the fiercely competitive Hindi News genre?
We did not face much problem in establishing ourselves on the sales front. The product offering was different from all other existing Hindi News channels. Apart from the Top 3 channels, most of the other news channels that time were me-too products. We analysed that programming and news delivery of all other channels were revolving around the Top 3 channels only, with no distinctive offerings. We, therefore, came up with programmes like ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, ‘Idea India Ka’, ‘Khana Gana’, etc. These programmes helped us create a brand identity and delivered good ratings. 

Do you think TRPs are really that important for sales? What are your views on allegations of BARC panel homes tampering?
TRPs do play a vital role in revenues because it gives an indication of ROI. With regards to tampering, BARC authorities are competent enough to handle these issues and I am sure they are taking utmost care to ensure robustness of data. Having said that, there are also instances where data defies logic. 

After 5 years, how would you say that News Nation is different from other Hindi News channels?
News Nation has not deviated from its brand promise. Today, where one can see a clear tilt of every news channel towards a pro or against sentiment, News Nation stands as an observer and reports news as it is, un-opinionated, unbiased. We respect the intelligence of the viewers and provide them with news they can use. We still have no dedicated show on astrology, crime or religion. 

Lately you have been facing strong competition from a couple of channels. How are you tackling that?
We are focusing on our core strengths and assuring clients to look at value for their money. Evening Prime Time is one area where the concentration of audience is the highest, and if a broadcaster decides to reduce commercial FCT in this band, their programming ratings might go up, but break ratings tentatively will go down. Apart from these, for some broadcasters a couple of bands in prime time deliver about 30-40 per cent of their entire viewership, unlike News Nation which generally has an equal distribution of viewership. 

News consumption is gradually becoming higher on second screens, that is, digital. What are your views on this and what advancements have News Nation made in the digital domain?
Yes, eventually not only news but almost all content will see a higher rise in consumption on mobile. With the penetration of smartphones into smaller towns/ rural and affordable data plans, this sector is poised for a massive growth. News Nation is already geared up for this, it has two websites – (English) and Hindi). It also has News Mobile App for these websites available on Android and iOS. The mobile apps are equipped with latest GUI and some unique features like “Quicky”. The Quicky feature lets you watch news from 1 minute up to 5 minutes to save your time. We are also facilitating live audio news feature to our users. 

Could you detail some future plans of News Nation Network?
News Nation is evaluating business potential in different genres. Some expansions plans are already under consideration and we will be able to share some news soon.

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