Monday, June 29, 2009

The End?

The NewsX saga has rolled out to its end with the sacking (‘firing’ whatever you want to believe) of 78 employees. However, as usually happens in such cases there has been immense amounts of back-biting and bitching. Nobody other than the truly incompetent should lose their jobs, and believe me there are enough truly incompetent people in this industry. But whenever there is a drastic purge accusations fill chain emails about why A, B or C didn’t lose their jobs and what their political or apolitical connections are.
Here is the funny thing, emails are possibly the worst way to spread canards – IP logging and all, with Google, MSN and Yahoo more than happy to bend over backwards and provide IP addresses. Heck, Airtel even wrongly sent a techie to jail by handing over data and is offering him a restitution of Rs 200,000. That would not have covered the cost of flowers at Sunil Mittal’s daughter’s wedding. But then again, as some of you say, Apple’s and Orange’s.
The dead-tree industry is not doing much better than the indirectly dead-tree industry (Thermal power plants, I know it is a bit of a stretch, but with little time to blog lately spare me) from what I hear. The Times and ET apparently have so much inventory to spare that they’re handing it over to ET Now by the bucketload and I’m yet to see any signs of life on that front. A colleague who is closely related to someone senior in the channel joked that he managed to see the channel for the first time in Allahabad.
The interesting evolution has been with CNBC-TV18’s programming, suddenly it is less about the markets (Markets are so 2007-2008!) and quite corporate but stories that would have been buried as single-columns are getting mad amounts of airtime. Bajaj’s biggest engine yet is a ten-minute story? No doubt, there are some good stories, but somehow I always seem to notice the bad ones.
That said, with Wimbledon on, I don’t really see too much news TV. Actually, last week with MJ’s death I watched too much CNN and BBC. Actually with Iran and all the celebrity deaths (Billy Mays died last night!) I don’t see the Indian news channels much. The ones I do end up watching are the Bangla news channels because of their Maoist coverage.
Back to CNBC-TV18 in an oft-talked about piece of news that is now final, the network has been given permission to start three new channels – ‘South’, “Gujarati’ and ‘Channel 3’. The first two I can guess, the third I’ve been trying to figure out. Not that I think that I will be target audience for any of the three. And just how much money is there in business news? Enough to support so many channels, or is TV18 copying from the Times playbook and using the ‘flanking’ product idea. Interesting to see if this can work in Business channels, it did not work for UndieTV with city-focused channels. Then again, Raghav B is a bit more adept – but why have The V do a show on business tycoons – that show is a snooze fest for us in the know and ends up sounding like a circle jerk festival.
Back to the start of the tale, I feel bad for people who lose jobs in a weak economy and an even weaker media. Not everybody who has lost a job is truly incompetent or a twat. Some people are nice guys, and I wish them well. As for why I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to, I have generally been very busy of late. My Cover Story run rate has shot up and with several more interesting stories in the pipeline, I find myself spending less time in office. I guess things will settle down, and I must admit not being in office is not a great thing at all in this weather. F***, it is hot and with Anil Ambani not providing us electricity, things might get worse.
One last thing, may Anil Wilson’s soul rest in peace. Amen!


Anonymous said...

Bang on k! Unlike the cnbc comment trolls on your previous post, you've understood what's happened in spite of not even seeing ET Now.

CNBC has been FORCED to change its game because of the avalanche of news that ET Now has broken in market hours. Sure the look is a bit crappy and some print guys aren't great on TV but CNBC has been caught with its pants down on breaking news. For heavens sake, even the Nandan story broke first on ET Now which is shocking considering the Infy-CNBC lovefest every quarter.

CNBC is shaken, and once the distribution is in place and the soft launch snowballs into full-blown war, they're gonna be stirred as well!

Anonymous said...

You won't even need IP logging. The arrogant bonehead left so many clues in his email, even the interns at the office know who it is.

"Career destroying move" as Pocha said yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Still not seen ET Now. Have been seeing some of the comnments on the channel though, and for those criticising it, the sore point seems to be the 'look and feel' of the channel. Not a peep on the content.

I think it's about time people realised that they shouldn't give a rats ass for the channel's 'look' if they plan to use the reportage there as inputs to make critical financial decisions. I know friends at ET, and am pretty sure the stories will make it the best among the lot we have right now. For the record, I stopped watching CNBC two years back, when they started celebrating each sensex landmark like loonies.