Goswami believes in the co-existence of television and digital. According to him, TV and digital are collaborators, not competitors
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 23, 2017
Arnab Goswami has shown immense confidence that his to-be-launched channel will become the No. 1 news brand in the country. Speaking to BestMediaInfo.com on the sidelines of Ficci Frames 2017, Goswami informed that the channel, Republic, will be launched “sooner than we think”. It is learnt that Republic has received the regulatory licence.
According to sources, the channel is likely to be launched in the second half of next month. When asked about the lack of marketing in the run-up to its launch, Goswami said, “Do we need marketing? Doesn’t everyone in India already know what Republic is? In terms of brand perception, our journalism will see us through. In about a year after launch, Republic is going to be India’s No. 1 news brand, by far, both on TV and digital.”
In an e-mail interaction, Vikas Khanchandani, CEO, Republic, said, “Since everyone is aware of the brand, we haven’t spent a single rupee in marketing yet. We will leverage our content and smart marketing to reinforce our messaging.”
The digital platform Republicworld and television news channel Republic TV will be launched together (may not be simultaneous, though). While the initial broadcast of the channel will be on standard definition (SD), the content is being shot in high definition (HD). The HD channel will be launched in the next phase.
The channel is planning a lot of collaborations for content and sales. The partnerships are in the process of finalisation and hence cannot be discussed, said Goswami. On the distribution side, the channel will be available across all the platforms.
There was a lot of controversy on the name of the channel, so much so that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had written to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting objecting to its name. The name still remains the same, said Goswami. “Republic TV is the name of the channel. It is a great name. It is people’s right to write letters and the ministry’s right to respond to them. It makes no difference. I know some of my competitors are worried about Republic’s launch, but the people of this country are waiting for Republic to be launched.”
While devising the sales strategy, the company is looking at more branding solutions than just plain advertisements. Khanchandani, who has been an ad sales expert for most part of his professional career, explained, “We will be one of the strongest impact platforms in the country and the objective is to work with our client and agency partners to build effective campaigns and solutions.”
Meanwhile, speaking on day two of Ficci Frames, Goswami expressed firm belief in the co-existence of television and digital. According to him, TV and digital are collaborators, not competitors. “Television as a platform will outlive every medium in the country. It is the only medium that has the potential to influence the mindset of 1.3 million people. Digital will be the second screen, with a distinct identity to television. We are at a threshold of truly proving that the two media are collaborators.”
Few other key differentiators for Republic that he mentioned at the Ficci Frames session include opinionated journalism, rather than disseminating information in its plain form. “I am not a news reader and not a journalist if I only go for plain vanilla journalism. Opinion is sacred, while facts are available,” he added.
He pointed out that the whole media is focussing on New Delhi and a lot of real newsworthy instances were ignored. About the Kansas firing that killed Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Goswami stated how it didn’t get the footage it deserved in the Indian media. He also mentioned the Hyderabad incident where a man was lying in a pool of blood, while two police stations kept fighting on the jurisdiction.
Goswami made it clear that polished English accent is not what resonates with the people of the country. “I will speak English in the Indian way – the language that we speak in our regular discussions. I prefer Hinglish or Indie-English.”
Republic will still target the English speaking audiences in the country. As Khanchandani explained, “English as a language has co-existed in the Indian subcontinent alongside thousands of local languages. It is estimated that there are over 340 million ‘English users’ in India. English users by definition mean individuals that have some understanding of English and ‘use’ English to read the occasional message, seek help and instructions. The numbers that speak the language is estimated at 90 million and the numbers that can read is small. Hence the number of people consuming English video content is far higher than those reading English. Our endeavour will be to create content that will be inclusive so that we can reach a large mass of 340 million English users.”