Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New telly channels!

No, we aren't talking about the soon to be launched News X, with its brand-new brand ambassador Dada!
or about UTV Business, which I thought would have started by now...
But about the now strongly rumoured 'MintTV' from HT. Supposedly technical people are leaving other networks in droves to this new not-yet-formally named channel. This isn't the first time that HT has forayed into TV, they had a disasterous foray into home-ent almost a decade ago called 'HomeTV'. With their online division also sprucing up their act, and HT Media now a listed company, I guess investors have to constantly see something exciting.
Not that the Times Group's forays into TV have been 'very' successful, Zoom is an unmitigated disaster and Times Now.. well ho-hum. I guess unless you can get the top leadership right, there will be problems.


Anonymous said...

To start with HT Tv will just be a sort of production house producing three business shows for News X. Srini (ex Headlines Today) is heading the venture

Anonymous said...

Srini is heading up HT TV!!! All I can say to that is that it is doomed! Srini absolutely ruined Headlines Today with his waflling and political machinations. The man might be smart but he should not run anything!

gbo said...

Too many Srinis in the Indian media.

pookmail said...

Deal between Mint and NewsX is off.

Anonymous said...

News X is becoming like the Loch Ness monster - mythical! Though one hears they are on the verge of launching. The Gen Ent channel 9X sucks though!

Anonymous said...

they've built a studio and hired ppl. they're making calls to all and sundry claiming they're hiring for "HT Business Channel."

Anonymous said...

Hey K. Just thought I'd give you this bit of information. Apparently, News X is aready late on salary payments. There have already been some resignations due to the politics within.

Anonymous said...

About NesX. There is talk that it may get a full-time chairman to oversee CEO and Editorial Director Vir Sanghvi. This is after the dismal failure of its sister channel, NineX, which spent a record 75 crore on an advertising blitz but only got measly TRPs of 0.5 for its top three shows!
Investors in Peter Mukherjee's channel claim that they has been led astray by Mukherjee's calim that he would repeat the success of Star Plus. They invested over 300 million dollars in the venture, thinking that he would create a rival to India's number one channel. But it is now clear that 9X is only as successful as Sab TV or Sahara, and the investors are beginning to panic.
Darius Pandole, a director on the board, summoned Mukherjee to Temasek's office in Bombay's Nariman Point and read him the riot act which other investors (Rajat Gupta's funds, Arshad Zakaria's investors and front companies that conceal Mukesh Ambani's 20 per cent stake) told him they were bitterly disappointed by his channel's performance.
The problem, they said, lay in his unwillingness to hire a proper programming head. Instead he has made his babe wife Indrani the company's CEO and let her commission programmes. As her chief claim to fame is the commissions she earned from Star as a recruitment consultant when Mukherjee was CEO (how's that for conflict of interest?) the investors were shocked that she had been allowed to waste crores of their money commissioning such rubbish as Mission Ustad, India's most unwatchable music show.
Mukherjee was told that he would not be allowed to give his wife a multi-crore salary and asked to find a professional head of programming and a new CEO right away.
This is certain to have consequences for NewsX as the channel is funded by the same investors even though the shareholding is fronted as a loan to Peter Mukherjee. So far the business side of the channel has been run by Indrani, whose babe-like style has drawn derision from the market.
Gossip is that Sanghvi has fought with the Mukherjees about the lack of professionalism and the investors have also taken the line that the company needs professional management.
Mrs Mukherjee is a self-appointed chairman of news venture but the investors have told Peter that this is not good enough. They want a professional management in place if NewsX is to avoid the disastrous fate of 9X.
A shaken Mukherjee left Nariman Point last month wondering how to tame his ambitious wife.
But if you hear of new appointments in the management side of Nine X and News X remember you read it here first.

angel said...

Hey K!
Here's some more on the disastrous failure of 9X. There is panic among the investors who are talking to people in the TV industry and asking how Peter Mukerjea could have got it so wrong.
Obviously investment bankers don't know that Mukerjea's job at Star was restricted to gathering advertising and building up his own personal profile. He has never commissioned a show in his life and had been edged out into some humiliating for-status-only position when he conned Temasek into leading an investment consortium for his network.
The cause of his downfall has always been his pushy wife. She was the reason for the tension between him and Sameer Nair who was actually responsible for the success of Star Plus. She was also the one who edged out Raveena Raj Kohli from Star News because Kohli did not give her enough importance.
Mukerjea is so completely under her thumb that he allowed her to function as commissioning editor for entertainment even though she neither speaks Hindi nor has any experience of TV.
Investors were told that at least one or two of the shows would get ratings of 2 or 3 within weeks of the launch. But the best 9X has managed is a rating of 0.52. Even the GRPs have been built up on the basis of highly priced movies.
There are many new channels coming. There's NDTV Imagine. Then there's the Viacom TV 18 channel. And by the summer there will be a Turner channel and an Anil Ambani channel.
With this kind of competition how can 9X survive with a bimbette in charge of programming. Greater love hath no man than he lay down his wife for his channel.
Within the 9X office they say that Mrs Mukerjea will be out of a job by March.

Anonymous said...

"The Indian media is full of vested interests, idiots who pontificate knowledge (people can accuse this writer of that as well) and predators preying on the infirm and intellectually challenged."

Alas the people can indeed accuse the writer of 'that'. How ironic that internet anonymity brings out the real life anonymous (who may, in the spirit of this blog, delete this too).


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