Desi News Channels

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Here my 2 cents on some of the TV News channels in India- casual caricatures of the players “in the jungle out there”– that’s how I’d like to think of this post.. Here we go!



With all respects to the people behind the channel and the hard work they put in.. the content is below-par. Most of the clocked hours are spent in discussing issues that are more entertainment than relevant. Some of the most ridiculous (read: senseless) stories I have seen on Aajtak include:

  • Mani Shankar Aiyar singing songs in a party – This ranks amongst the most ridiculous.. They had a 10-second clip (perhaps taken from someone’s cell phone!) of a private party attended by the Petroleum Minister.. and they kept playing it in a loop for around 5 minutes (Yes, they repeated the SAME clip around 20-25 times!) – I didn’t get the point.. Can Ministers not have fun? .. or do they have nothing better to beam on the boob tube?

Agreed. Aajtak has the maximum reach and is “for the masses” – but if that means you turn it into a real-life theatre, then we’ll have to stop calling them news channels! However, if the Indian Readership survey is anything to go by, the average Indian couch potato definitely seems to have given Aajtak a thumbs-up!


Headlines Today

Aajtak’s little brother and not any better! Headlines Today sees to be in the midst of an Identity-crisis. They want to compete with the (relatively!) better off English News Channels… and yet stick to their (Aajtak!) roots! The news-readers (Zaka Jacob & Company!) are amateurish.. No, wait.. schoolboy-ish! ;).. There are a lot of other things that Headlines Today doesn’t have … For one, it does not have its own website! … Other things aren’t worth commenting upon!


Times Now

The much-awaited News channel from Bennet Coleman & Co. rides high on the “fundamentals” on which Times of India (as a newspaper) “sells” … Sell it spicy, sell it hot.. glamorize everything.. and oh, yes .. fill the pages (and space on screen in case of Times NOW!) with an insane amount of gossip! Arnab Goswami seems to have been “infected’ by the TOI virus.. Gossip, glamour, controversy.. That’s (ahem!) news!



I haven’t watched much of CNN-IBN to be honest, but form the little that I have – Rajdeep Sardesai apart, the remaining news-readers seem to blast out of my TV Screen every time I turn on the channel – especially the lady who reads the 9 0′ clock news along with RajdeepSardesai. Sorry Ma’m, you’re too loud! Like I said, since I haven’t watched much of them, it would be unfair to comment on their content!



All said and done, in my humble opinion, NDTV seems to win hands-down as far as both content and delivery are concerned. They’re not as dominant as they used to be in the “English News Channels” category and the quality has taken a slight hit after The Sardesais and Goswamis left the club in search of independence and greener pastures. But in many ways, NDTV revolutionized the way India watched news – First as the production partner for Star News as we used to know it and then after it broke off from the alliance to produce news independently.


Depending upon the response to this post, I would also like to create a poll. Would be glad if others (& other bloggers) reading this help out. Then we could make it a community poll of sorts. Perhaps the only way to find out which is / are the most popular television news channel (s).. at least as far as the (unbiased!) Blogosphere is concerned! πŸ˜‰

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31 thoughts on “Desi News Channels

  1. news readers in Headlines today r tooooo “school kid ” type ….
    Yes, NDTV is one good channel I would say πŸ™‚ .. I like CNN IBN too.. for its in depth features..

  2. I totally agree with your views on the channels except CNN-IBN. Those guys are good. The content is not as good as NDTV but they’re more classy and more innovative with their concepts. I think their Citizen Journalist concept was pure genius. The news readers aren’t that bad. They are rather flashy as it reaches prime time but the guys who do the morning stuff are pretty cool. There’s one called Arunoday Mukherjee or something like that and he’s good. And another one called Vidya Shankar Aiyar, he’s also good. I guess you just watched the wrong reporter then. She has her good and bad days so you can’t really make an opinion about her.

  3. @ Ish..

    Which is why I took the “diplomatic” path by not commenting on CNN-IBN… But one hting I am sure of is that if there’s anything that comes close to NDTV 24X7 it,s CNN-IBN!

    @ Kpower..

    I’ve intentionally left Business News channels out of this.. Just the general “mass” news ones! πŸ˜‰

  4. hey, I feel you should have done your lil research on CNN-IBN before writing this post. It seems unfair to write a neutered opinion about a good channel. CNN-IBN is as good as NDTV. Someimes more energetic.

    I guess the loud lady you are referring to at CNN-IBN is Sagarika Ghose. πŸ™‚

  5. to me all the news channels are same.. They all have good looking news readers. πŸ™‚ They are serving what people would be interested..
    people(not generalizing though) would like see a Jodha Akbar Trailer rather watch .. rather than sufferings of some corner of India..

    Best Alternative to all this is News on Web.. u can have selective content here..

    I’d sincerely appreciate.. wat news channels are doing….i feel some level of transparency whence these news channels are active.. atleast in A.P .. ( we have 5 local **only** news channels.. and the natinal once which u named here πŸ™‚ ). Except for the nuisance(which amounts to large %) ..

    I feel the survey would do no good as you have a remote in your hand always.. just switch when some one speaks crap..

  6. @ Poonam,

    Agreed. Everyone seems to point out that CNN0IBN is good. I should start watching it more.. and maybe amend my post later! :mtgreen: ..

    @ Sasanka,

    Yeah… Thats the power of the web really.. we can CHOOSE what we want to view..!

  7. @Amyth: Ah, Poonam says you’re referring to Sagarika Ghose. I thought you were referring about Anubha Bhosle. The one you are talking about..does she have long hair or short?

  8. @ Ish,

    She has short hair.. and speaks with a Loud (id say boyish!) voice.. I have a qierd feeling that it’s Sagarika Ghose.. Somehow she “looked like” her name is Sagarika Ghose… :mrgreen: .. I don’t think I’m making sense… wait.. lemme check it up on their website..

  9. Yeah Amit. I knew it could not be anyone else. I know she is Mrs. Sardesai. She is daughter of Bhasker Ghose, was DD chairman.

    She also writes crappy novels as “Blind Fiath.” I had the misfortune of reading it. 😦

  10. I think it all boils down to the fact that what people are willing to watch. Channels like Aaj Tak click because people watch them. We Indians are bad at taking things as they are. We want things more spiced up so that we can give release to our pent up vicarious feelings. Thats the only reason that such channels and Balaji Telefilms are still breathing. πŸ™‚

  11. @ Poonam,

    Ok.. In that case, I’m glad I didn’t try! :mrgreen:

    @ Amit

    Thanks for dropping by.. You’re my namesake! πŸ˜‰

    And I totally agree with you. A majority of Indians like things ot be “spiced” up to the extent of concocting the truth! .. Aaah… thats us!

  12. aaj tak is seriously a junk news channel.. it won the best hindi news channel last year,now i wonder how worse other hindi news channels would have been.. πŸ˜› .
    seriously , AAj tak has become more of a entertainment news channel,they start discussing something and with in minutes they start their adds ,again they come back and again the same adds.
    bottom line nothing would be their in that news..
    its been ages since i have switched on to that channel. πŸ˜›
    i love NDTV..its more professional ,more real news and besides that no crappy special reports with helluva adds in it.
    moreover it has sidhuisms in it πŸ˜€ ..
    by the way a very very good post

  13. @ Arvind

    The other Hindi News channels aren’t any better… save for CNBC Aawaz.. which is not too bad for market-related stuff! Other than that its BULL! .. Yeah NDTV is good… (WIth or without the Sidhuisms! ;)) ..

  14. CNN-ibn is best English News channel. NDtv was good earlier. Now its bias towards Leftists shows through- it is not regraded as Neutral- hence popularity going down.

  15. Who the hell here said good things about “Arunoday Mukharji”. I have been watching the Taj hotel attack and this arunoday has been on my nerves since then. Why does he stutter so much.
    Why is it that these indian reporters (including George Koshy) talk as if they want to create panic. Good Lord. I am fed up hearing them talk. Just ranting like crazy. Pure verbal diarrhoea. nothing substantial.
    In one of the scenes, there is a fire fighting engine coming and as good citizens, this is not the time to keep reporting. Make way for the vehicle so that the ones in danger can be saved. But no. Arunoday has to keep talking. Feel like giving him a major kaanpatti (you know what I mean).

    None of these reporter jokers are worth it. God knows what the foreign viewers might think hearing these jokers talk.

  16. Well… NDTV seems to have lost it ever since CNN-IBN and TimesNow came into picture. I have heard that it doesn’t compete for rating; it doesn’t need to as Prannay Roy has made same amazing investments over the years and the revenue they generate more than make up for the lack of TRPs it gathers. But ya its not just the news, even the quality of talk shows have deteriorated over the years – The Big Fight was never the same without Rajdeep Sardesai. I guess the only saving grace is Miss tenacious Barkha Dutt.
    As for the other channels, I would tip TimesNow slightly ahead of CNN, simply because Goswami rocks – and there are no 2 ways about it… He has completely come into his own once this channel started. The Newshour debates are definitely the best we have on primetime. When it comes to kicking ass, there’s none better than Goswami.
    Though Rajdeep’s weekend edition has its impact too, but post 26/11 i think Arnab is on a roll. Could be awarded some goodies next year for sure.

  17. Are you kidding? I think NDTV is highly unbiased, sensationalist and has poor quality of reporting. Their reporters do too much self-congratulation, stuttering out their messages and making their reports sound hurried by stammering the whole time. Barkha Dutt does not know when to put on what emotion. And the choice of people they make for their debates suck – Rahul Bose? Shoba De? Who are these people to discuss matters that require attention? Shouldnt they be grilling MLAs and MPs more often?

    CNN IBN is not much better. They have better presentation skills than NDTV any day and package their programs better. Times Now isn’t too bad as well, except they also do a lot of sensationalist reporting.

    My humble opinion is that most Indian reporters don’t know their asses from their elbows. They don’t know how to interrogate, how to develop a story, how to present things on the screen infallibly.

    I think the state run Doordarshan news was once upon a time, the most unbiased, reliable source of information on the TV. These days I rely more on news articles and newspapers/websites/channels like The Hindu, Indian Express, Dawn, CNN, and others that aren’t sensationalist.

  18. According to me times now is the best channel in english ..and all the coresspondentsare and reader are well trained and their is very sofisticated ..

  19. @ Rajesh: Ok. But IBN7 is a Hindi News Channel – the other 2 you mentioned are in English.
    Thanks for dropping by Do keep coming back! πŸ™‚

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