The seasoned media veteran shares his views for The Sake of News; read the full conversation.
I am not sure if and where we can draw actual quantification of such limits. ButÂ I do believe that many news-channels have evolved to ridiculous degrees of trivialization of news.
It is like merging the mainÂ news-section of a newspaper along with the city-supplement - except that, unlike in a newspaper, at least the reader has choice of what section or pages to pick.Â A domination of light content on a channel is coercing all their viewers to view the fickle for those many minutes.... And such minutes are only increasing, in the raceÂ to help achieve short-term objectives,
Q) Does the deviation from the core proposition i.e. news help the channel in long run?
Each news-channel develops its own set of strategies to gain salience and viewership. I don't think there's any right or wrong in what a channel adopts, as long as it delivers on strategy, atleast as far as commercial objectives go.
Having said that, from an ideological perspective as well as for developing a base of trusting viewers over the long-term, I am not sure if it helps the channel to deviate so alarmingly from its core proposition. The adverse results - by way of advertiser-perception and eventually revenues - do also show in many a case, asÂ many channelsÂ haveÂ dismayingly witnessed.
Q) Do the advertisers ever think of content and so value the loyal audience concept?
Advertisers do indeed debate the values and merits of content-mix across channels. It would be naive to even assume that they go only by numbers and not content-quality.
A news-channel cannot go overboard into the realm of looking like a leisure or lifestyle channel (worse, into a sleaze-channel), and lose its very character. At best it will reap short-term gains, but the game eventually gets revealed.
I am not sure how manyÂ advertisers stayÂ influenced byÂ arguments, of what you call "loyal audience", beyond a point. Unfortunately, the game threatens to reduce to achieving sheer numbers much of the time. Despite this, there are enough instances where discerning advertisers do avoid or minimize advertising on certain "news"-channels despite their delivery of numbers, basis what they perceive as quality (read: trivialisation) of that channel's content.
Q) Where do you see the trend to go in future? Is it alarming?
See, as long as numbers come in -Â or as long as there is a desperation to build numbers whatever be the means - I reckon there will always beÂ advocatesÂ and practitioners forÂ over-trivialized content on "news"-channels. Unfortunate, but true. But in a logical evolution, an astute balancing of content between news and non-news willÂ without doubtÂ build long-term respect and buyability for such a channel.
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