The heads of Times Now and Republic TV took to Facebook to react over Republic TV's move to name their competition and write “Viewership Annihilation and Demolition of Times Now Complete” on-air on January 5.
Though both channels have been claiming leadership, this was the first time Republic went to the extent of naming Times Now on air.
Mandar Madhuri Natekar, Senior VP, Viacom18 and Revenue Head, MTV, MTV Indies at MTV India, wrote a Facebook post pointing out that how aggressive the fight between two channels was turning out to be. His post read, “The English news market is really hotting (sic) up. It’s rare to see in our industry, such sensationally aggressive headlines about competition to this extent. The gloves are off I guess....”
Natekar’s post attracted comments from the stalwarts and observers from the cross section of the industry. But the most unexpected comments and counter-comments came from MK Anand, MD and CEO, Times Network and Vikas Khanchandani, CEO, Republic TV.
Anand commented, “Numbers are just one indicator and not to be all. While we do fight tooth and nail for numbers (always by fair means), and have kept our leadership intact, we are more focused on consumer perception and brand salience. We also carry ourselves with a dignity that leadership demands. We have similar combats with Star Movies and CNBC. Have you seen this virulence there?”
Anand suggested that channels should have dignity in competition, no matter how fierce it was.
Replying to Anand's comment, Khanchandani said, “It's so easy to make tall claims of fairness when in reality one breaks every rule in the book. The same numbers up until a year back were the end all of leadership and now seems to be an indicator. Once you take the gloves off one should not project it to release doves. There is history to everyone's journey, just that one hasn't found competitors who choose to fight back and fight back hard notwithstanding all the legal and police cases. The fact is that not of them have managed to dent our conviction or dampen our passion and needless to mention the law has chosen the side of truth.”
Other industry stalwarts who commented and reacted to the post included Ajit Varghese, Global President, Market Development, Wavemaker; Divya Radhakrishnan, Founder, Helios Media; Rajiv Dubey, Dabur and Dupindera Sandhu, Homeshop18.