Wednesday, January 02, 2008

HNY 2008

Well, it seems like it was only yesterday that it was 2007! But Happy New Years folks and have a great 2008 and maybe this year, I could finally ditch 'K' even though it isn't exactly a state secret anymore.
On a media note, there have been two rather well-informed comments on this post of mine. The fact that the ratings have been abysmal for a Rs75 crore launch budget that 9X had is well known, also as of yesterday, 9X went onto Tata-Sky's ridiculous 'Lifestyle Gold' package which includes other gems like NDTV Good Times, which means wasting 30 bucks a month, which is incredibly bad value for someone who forgets to recharge his set-top box like me. Secondly, what will be interesting to watch will be the battle between Peter and Sameer, whose channel NDTV Imagine launches today or something. Not that I have watched either, but then again, I am not target viewership either. But I have this sneaking feeling that Sameer Nair, programming genius that he is will pull off NDTV Imagine, making Peter Mukerjea's predicament worse. Plus, as the comments pointed out, what happens when Viacom-TV18 channel starts?
What is interesting is that the crisis at INX have sparked off another rumour that Vir will return to vacant Editor's seat at HT. But if Mr Sanghvi goes back to HT Media, this time round he might have to return on Rajiv Verma's terms. Verma, CEO, HT Media has made investors quite happy and he has strengthened his position since Vir left, because VS and RV were supposedly not on very good terms earlier. Any which way, this is all pure speculation. But if News X does not take off it leaves a lot of people in the lurch, people who followed VS and Avirook to News X, thinking they would change the news world and that frankly is quite sad.
I'm not in any way implying anything about the viability or not of the channel, but with such a long gestation period, if I was an investor I would be worried. And if I had an incompetent person running the place I would be fairly worried too.


Anonymous said...

isnt pankaj paul the managing editor? both the bombay and delhi editors report into him right?

Anonymous said...

About the disastrous failure of 9X to secure any ratings, apparently when the investors told Peter Mukherjee that he had to find somebody to replace his wife as programming chief she became hysterical and he had to take her off to Dubai for a week to cool her down.
But Dilip Ghosh who was to be the original head of programming has already been sacked (his resignation was announced last week) and the only other person available within the company is a former employee of Sahara, whose programming 9X most closely resembles.
New developments are as follows. Shankar Narayan, the CFO, has refused pointblank to report to Indrani Mukherjea and the investors have taken his side. NewsX will probably be run as a separate company with Vir Sanghvi as CEO and a chairman from one of the investors.
The investors fear that the failure of 9X might taint NewsX and as it is a completely seperate company they want a Mukherjea-free management structure with all professionals and no bimbos!
As of now, News X launches on March 15, the new offices are ready and a dozen English technicians have arrived to oversee the launch. They are all paid fancy salaries in pounds which suggests that foreign funds prefer foreign expertise -- no matter how much it costs.
Let's hope this money is not wasted like 9X's was.

Anonymous said...

HT's reporting structure is that everyone reports to Madam. Isn't that simple!

Anonymous said...

Good point about the crisis at HT after Kalbag's sacking and with declining circulation and IRS/NRS readership figures.
But I don't think VS is going back. Why should he? He has a sweetheart deal already. As advisory editorial director he has his old office and old salary plus his three columns. And he gets to interview Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh at the HT summit. Why should he go back and give up two salaries?
Not sure about him and Rajiv Verma (things have changed since you left!). The HT buzz is that VS and Verma got together to get Kalbag out. Apparently, the plan is to make Raju Narisetti who is Verma's protege and VS's pal editor-in-chief of the whole HT group. And this prospect is making HT's current executive editor (yes, the one mentioned above!) and resident editor very nervous.
Once that happens Samar Harlankar, who was VS's appointment as Mumbai editor will move to Delhi and become full-fledged editor of HT. Samar is an old friend of Rajiv's and his wife, Priya Ramani, edits Mint's magazine, Lounge, where VS is a star columnist (how cosy can you get?)
By the way, have you seen KK Birla's unreadable autobiography? VS has written the foreword and KK calls him `a family member' in his own preface.
At the book release function at PM House, VS sat on the stage with Manmahon, Sonia, KK and Shobhana Bhartiya. So Rajiv Verma may need VS to manage the family

vijay said...

Hi K,
Surprisingly, The lifestyle gold package was to start from Jan 1st an di have not subscribed to them , they are still being shown on Tata Sky :):)

Anonymous said...

Hi guys. Never been on this blog before but friends told me about your postings on the failure of 9X's entertainment programming to get any ratings. So, I logged on and must say it's a fun read even though you are short of hard information! But maybe that's because yours is a opinion blog not a news site.
But you've all missed the point about Indrani Mukherjea and 9X. How has she suddenly become a media figure? Why do so many pictures of her appear? Why is 9X referred to as her channel when Peter is the boss and the money comes from investment funds?
I work for a TV website so I can tell you. The real reason is that the 9X PR machine, which includes a few racketeers and a PR agency nobody has heard of, pays off journos in trade publications and websites so that they carry non-stop news about Indrani. And she spends more time giving interviews praising herself and running down her husband than she does on running the channel.
That's why she has suddenly become such a media figure. And that's why trade publications and websites are so reluctant to say what the whole industry knows: that 9X is the biggest flop since Star One (also Peter's mistake). The programming, promotions and cable carriage costs are Rs 3 crore a day! And the ratings are on par with Bindass!!
If you are so interested in the Indian media, why don't you focus on this sort of corruption?

Mine-Me said...

What happens to HT if the Congress loses, since the place is probably the most pro-Congress news organisation there is! Vinod Mehta isn't THAT bad nor is that bearded idiot Tarun Tejpal.
I mean, the owner-ess is a Congress MP, how much worse can you get! And when was KK Birla ever readable, have you read his absolutely maddeningly horrible pieces on the Indian economy in the run-up to the budget (expect them shortly), they give you an idea about why the Birla's declined and only one arm of the family keeps the name afloat - even though the next generation of Birla's (KMB's kids) are a mix of Indian business royalty having a full half of Bajaj genes.
Back to 9X - media buying houses will probably start withdrawing ads from February. Remember, that NDTV Imagine starts on January 21 and as you have said Sameer Nair should have some good programming to start with, because it is nair not Peter who created Star, Peter just made sure it made money. Indrani managed to sign up Saurav Ganguly as brand ambassador for NewsX by paying a bomb, but whats the point. The trade reports - like another commenter here says - that NewsX will start only by mid-March. But I do believe the daggers are out, and expect blood to flow soon!

GBO said...

This blog is getting back to write about television in India, and the people therein, and may need to be moderated very carefully . . . right? What is it about tv in India, anyway? Hundreds of channels, there may just be thousands, does anybody have a precise count?

No, they don't.

Welcome to the world of perception management. Where there are no losers. Even the losers win.

With those happy thoughts, let me leave you to wonder - what next?

No, K, nobody needs to buy you out. Please leverage this yourself!!

ear said...

You know what? You write well, but you're obviously very biased. 9X is doing great -- it's had the biggest opening in the history of Indian television for a cable and satellite channel. You need to read before you spew your vitriol, my dear 'Male print journalist'. And nobody could have given me better words than you yourself when you describe yourself as "just a random faceless, anonymous idiot writing from behind the garb of a company-wide IP address". What gives you the right to describe anyone as a bimbo or a racketeer? The latter really applies to you, my dear farcical fellow -- did NDTV Imagine and that erstwhile sandwich seller Samir Nair who is said to have risen to the top at STAR due to his political ways -- pay you to write what you've been writing about 9X? I mean, you say you don't watch TV, but yet you put your definitely ill-gotten money where your foul mouth is and declare that NDTV Imagine'sgonna do better than 9X or whoever else in the market. Get out of the well you're wallowing in as K, and also under the garb of 'anonymous' through posts to your own shit, and grow up.

Anonymous said...

Dude "K" the name given to you by Balaji is it? yeah Obviously you dont know and understand Television, how come you have not written anything about 9xm, oops you a print guy and dont watch television. Do you even know the ratings of 9xm? and hello, you think 9x would launch and in two months would beat the likes of star and zee who have been there forever now. Its going to take time for any channel to make a mark. Obviously you know jack about television. "Undie TV" heavily paying you off is it? :)

Anonymous said...

Finally a response from the 9X PR department. You can tell by the illiteracy!
Some questions for them to answer:
1) If the channel is such a success how come no single show has a rating of anywhere near 1? With all the money they are spending this should have happened by now.
2) In areas where you can compare why is it that Mission Ustad gets TRPs of only 0.3 compared to 2.5 to 4 for Nach Baliye, Jhalak and K for Kishore?
3) Why is there now a scramble to desperately rework the programming because of the threat from Imagine? Ustad will be cancelled and so will Mere Apne, starring Vinod Khanna, that was launched with such fanfare. Also on the chopping block is Begum, a chat show starring a Pakistani drag queen who got the show because he/she looked like Indrani herself.
4) A planned expensive game show made by Synergy has been cancelled at the last minute though this could be because 20 per cent investor Mukesh objected to so much business going to Anil Ambani's Synergy.
5) 9X's carriage costs are the highest in the business. Where is the money going? (Or should that be to whom?) It certainly isn't going on connectivity.
6) Of the people who are connected, TAM figures show that only 28 per cent bother to watch 9X at all; 72% could not be bothered.

Anonymous said...

You are so right! That Pakistani tranvestite looks exactly like Indrani Mukherjea!! This is too funny...

Anonymous said...

If Samir Nair is a sandwich maker then does that mean Indrani is in the soup?

Anonymous said...

Hey K, now you have proof that the Bimbo-in-Chief of 9X (Indrani Mukerjea for those who haven't been following this post) pays off journos to write about her. Or why would all these 9X stooges who are writing in keep saying that you are paid off by Undie TV? Clearly, they judge everyone by their own corrupt standards.

snigdha said...

Very entertaining blog. And often informative as well. But you should come out of the closet. So much better to be able to put a face to the words.

Anonymous said...

you can tell this blog is being managed by a bunch of third rate journalist wannabes that can't deal with women being successful.

Anonymous said...

He He I agree So much, Looser Journalist Blog

Abhi said...

LOL at previous INXdiots. You can do better than playing the gender card morons ... Esp when defending a chick who's there only because her hubby is sitting out a non-compete clause! I mean ...seriously ... there have got to be better "courageously breaking the glass ceiling types" though in an industry where THEY are the casting couchers we don't even need that!

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