AAJ TAK's News Channel's Success Story

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR097
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2000 - 2004
Organization : TV - Today Network
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : Media and TV Software

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Aaj Tak redefined the whole concept of news which was hitherto the prerogative of Star and Zee."

- Satyajit Sen, head, media buying, Grey Worldwide.1

"Aaj Tak in the past few months has achieved unqualified success and has also been able to carve a distinct niche for itself in the world of news. All brands that have advertised on Aaj Tak have benefitted. Apart from providing a reach that is significant, the channel has also been able to deliver quality audiences."

- Rajul Kulshreshtha, VP, Universal McCann.2

Making News

Aaj Tak, the Hindi news channel run by TV Today Network (TVTN),3 has been in the news since its launch on December 31, 2000. Just one year after its launch, Aaj Tak won two awards, the Indian Television Academy (ITA)4 award for 'Best News Channel' and the 27th Radio and TV Advertising Practitioners' Association of India (RAPA)5 award for 'Best Campaign of the Year (TV)'.

The advertising campaign was appreciated for its ability to convey attributes like fast paced delivery style, objective coverage of the channel and the serious nature of news with an undertone of humor. In 2002, Aaj Tak won even more awards in various categories. Once again, it won the ITA award for 'Best News Channel' and the award for 'Best Distribution', and the 28th RAPA awards for the 'Best Media Campaign' and 'Best Soft Story'.6 The channel also won several Indian Telly Awards7 in the same year (Refer Exhibit I for other awards won by Aaj Tak). Not only did Aaj Tak win many awards, but it was also the only media brand in the Brand Derby of 2002.8 In this study, Aaj Tak was ranked the third most successful brand based on various attributes like content, mass appeal, objective coverage, etc.

In the Brand Derby 2003, Aaj Tak was ranked the third most successful brand launch in the last seven years.9 When Aaj Tak was launched, there were dedicated news channels like Star News,10 Zee News,11 CNN 12 and BBC.13

In addition to these channels, Doordarshan,14 entertainment channels and regional channels were also airing news and current affairs programs as part of their regular programs. Viewers had many sources to choose from for their daily news. It seemed like Aaj Tak had the odds stacked against it as news constituted less than 2 per cent of overall TV viewership in India and all the news channels were competing for the limited time that viewers spent on news programs. In addition, Zee News & Star News dominated the Hindi news segment and English news segment respectively. Nevertheless, Aaj Tak entered a market which was already crowded with other players and within six months of its launch, Aaj had become the most watched news channel in India.15

AAJ TAK's News Channel's Success Story - Next Page>>

1] Pande Bhanu, The Latecomer's advantage, Business Standard, February 5, 2002.

2] Aaj Tak claims clean sweep of top ten shows in news genre, www.indiantelevision.com, November 22, 2002.

3] TVTN is a subsidiary of Living Media India Ltd. (LMI) which is part of the India Today group (ITG). Prior to running Aaj Tak, TVTN produced programmes for other channels.

4] The Indian Television Academy is a Trade body that was incorporated by the professionals of the TV Industry. The organization provides guidance to television professionals and addresses their issues and problems with an aim of finding solutions.

5] RAPA is an organization formed by radio, television and advertising professionals. Their members include scriptwriters, producers, technicians, artists and advertising agencies. They conduct workshops, seminars and arbitration meetings. They also give the annual RAPA awards to recognize the work of radio, television and advertising professionals.

6] The soft story that won the award was 'Rameshwaram Se Rashtriya Bhawan Tak'. The story was about the life of the 11th President of India, Dr. Avul Phakir Jainulabedan Abdul Kalam. In a three part documentary style program it showed the different phases of his life, from small town Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu to the Rashtrapati Bhawan (official residence of the president on Raisina Hill in New Delhi).

7] The Indian Telly Awards are given by Indian Television Dot Com Pvt Ltd, a television services company founded in 1999. In 2001, they started these awards to recognize the achievers in the Indian Television Industry like programmers, marketers, CEOs, producers, cable TV operators, artistes and technicians.

8] Brand Derby is an annual study conducted by Business Standard, a financial daily in association with Indica Research, a market research agency in Mumbai, in which leading marketing and advertising professionals are asked to rank some of the new brand launches of the previous year.

9] For the Brand Derby 2003, in addition to the regular study, the participants were asked to rank the most successful brands among the Brand Derby winning brand launches of the past seven years.

10] Star News is one of the channels in a bouquet of channels run by STAR, a subsidiary of News Corporation. STAR launched in 1991, was the pioneer of satellite television in India. Now it runs channels in almost every genre such as entertainment, movies, news, sports, documentary, music, etc., and has a presence in 53 countries in Asia. Some of its channels are Star Plus, Star World, Channel V, ESPN.

11] Zee News is run by Zee Telefilms Limited, a media company founded in 1992 and a joint venture with News Corp Limited uptil 2000. Zee runs a number of entertainment channels like Zee Music, Zee Cinema, Zee MGM, Zee English, etc., and a set of regional channels called Alpha. It also runs a cable MSO (multi system operator), Siticable.

12] CNN is a 24 hour news channel available in more than 200 countries. It is run by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting System Inc., runs other popular channels such as TNT, Cartoon Network, TBS Superstation, etc.

13] BBC News is a 24-hour news channel run by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) which was established in 1922. The BBC also runs several other channels and radio stations.

14] Doordarshan (DD) is the national television network run by Prasar Bharathi (Broadcasting Corporation of India) an autonomous government body. It was the only television service available in India until the early 90s. The network comprises various national and regional language channels from DD 1 to DD 20 (entertainment channels), DD-India (International Service), DD-Sports, DD Bharati (Enrichment/Cultural Channel) and DD-Gyandarshan (Educational TV Channel).

15] Aaj Tak leads Zee and STAR in news, says TAM, agencyfaqs.com, June 01, 2001.


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