There are supposedly 427 channels on various satellite platforms available in India today - or that is what the TAM guys say. Anyway, I was talking to them a few days ago and an even more interesting factoid came out. While people accuse print, suffering the perils of more expensive newsprint of selling out to advertising, I was told that a leading Hindi news channel has of late run 19 minutes of advertising in a 30-minute prime time slot. Nineteen frikking minutes, and this is a quantified number. Where did the news go in between the adverts? It is alll about selling space, and to crucify one media group and particularly Times, when everybody is guilty (Times Now supposedly has the best edit-ad ratio currently). Because if it isn't an 11-19 edit-ad ratio, a large, 'respectable' English news channel have switched over to 17-13 at primetime (rather than 19-11) disguising it by bringing back 'recognised' faces. Most language news channels are gradually shifting to 15-15 according to trendlines. Also at prime time, 33 per cent of the ticker space is sold as adverts too. Don't see BBC or CNN doing that.
I don't know about you, but this is slightly disturbing. I wouldn't want anybody to regulate this sort of thing, but 19-11 is deecent, why are the channels pushing it. I mean, for far from the time you start seeing product placements on air, beyond the laptops. CNBC anchors selling teeth-whitener and Aaj-Tak anchorette's selling the cheap foundation they use. The Archana crowd (you know which network) selling condoms. Hey, these are 'respectable' and 'recognised' faces, so how far are we from this scenario? Even Uncle M would find such things a bit much.
Well, if you watch IBN7 which is currently obsessed with aliens, there is no news unless it is other worldly. Yesterday, it was going on about how images from space show the faces of Hindu gods and Mahatma Gandhi, things I would associate due to gamma correction errors in the image processing or bad monitor calibration. A few days ago it carried on about Area 51, as if it was something new. OK, so maybe I'm being snobbish, more getting a possibly illiterate audience inton a funk with alien talk is ridiculous and bad journalism. Rajdeep, are you reading this blog. If you aren't, you're not missing much, but for God's sake do something about your Hindi channel. Please!