Archive for November, 2008

ZEE TV comes back with a bang after the strike

November 30, 2008

Zee TV, India’s leading general entertainment channel, is back with a new look and fresh content. After a hiatus of 3 weeks due to a strike between the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and the Producer’s Guild, the channel is all set to announce interesting future tracks to existing stories. Besides this, there are two new prime time properties in the coming weeks – Choti Bahu and Shrii. The weekend will also be stacked and star studded with superstar Aamir Khan and Zayed Khan in Hero Honda Sa re Ga Ma Pa, premier of the year’s biggest block buster Taare Zameen Par to name a few. All in all, the Zee TV viewer will be spoilt for choice in the next few days with the offering that the channel has in store for them!!

Though these have been testing times for the broadcasters, all the channels will unanimously start airing fresh content from December 1st.

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Speaking on this initiative by the channels, Tarun Mehra, Business Head Zee TV said, “There were so many high points and new launches that were planned and the strike began. The broadcasters took a unanimous decision to not show any fresh content in the interim. Now that we are coming back on Monday (1st December), the viewers will be able to enjoy their favourite shows again. The marketing activities are also on a high decibel and we have a 360 degree communications strategy in place.”

So the next few weeks will see the year’s biggest block buster Taare Zameen Par on the channel. Along with that Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma PA Challenge 2009 (Fri-Sat 10pm) will have the inimitable Aamir Khan on Saturday (6th December) and Zayed Khan on 5th December. Saat Phere (Mon-Fri 9.30pm) will have Saloni dealing with a staggering personal loss, while Maayka (Mon-Fri 8.30pm) will address the issue of the daughter in law being a ‘manglik’ and the repercussions thereof. Ranbir Rano (Mon-Thur 10.30pm) will see a new character, Achint Kaur as Preet Didi enter the lives of Ranbir and Rano whereas Banoo Main Teri Dulhann (Mon-Fri 8pm) will see the inseparable Divya and Amar at the crossroads of their lives. And if this was not enough Naagin (Fri-Sun 9pm) will see the return of the original Naagin and Ghar Ki Lakshmi Betiyann (Mon-Thurs 10pm) will also sport a fresh and exciting new track.

So December is the month for all Zee TV viewers to get an eyeful of their favorite characters and shows.

BBC to celebrate Christmas with two docus

November 30, 2008

BBC will explore two of the best loved traditions of Christmas in two documentaries for BBC Two, The Truth About Carols and The Star Of Bethlehem – Behind The Myth.

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Sir Cliff Richard talks to Sally Magnusson about how his faith has shaped his five decades in showbiz in a special one-hour festive edition of Songs Of Praise.

Plus, there will be a chance to hear the very best traditional Christmas music from the quiet splendour of King’s College Cambridge for A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols and the joyous celebration of the Songs Of Praise Christmas Big Sing from London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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In The Truth About Carols, composer Howard Goodall uncovers the often turbulent and uncomfortable relationship between carols and the celebration of Christmas.

Though they have been around since the 12th century, carols have only been a feature of church services for the last 150 years.

For centuries the Church tried to keep carols out, believing them to be pagan or of no value, because they were written by human hand.

Carols have been used as secret codes, saved from the brink of extinction and been the subject of state censorship.

The carols sung seem set in stone and yet they can have more than 400 regional variations. Their roots are in dance, in folk culture, street theatre and in pre-Christian religion; and yet they’ve ended up as the quintessential expression of the Christmas story.

In Star Of Bethlehem – Behind The Myth, new developments in technology are allowing scientists, astronomers and historians to map the night skies of the ancient world with extraordinary accuracy.

As they study the movements of the planets and stars around the time of the birth of Christ, could the star of Bethlehem have been a triple conjunction of planets, an occultation of Jupiter and Saturn, or even a supernova?

Christmas preparations start on BBC One on the first Sunday in Advent with Christmas Voices. This is an hour-long programme of inspirational song, chat and debate presented by Lesley Garrett.

Songs Of Praise will prepare for the season with four special programmes. The first on Saint Andrew’s Day (30 November) comes from Linlithgow, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

The second is a special programme celebrating Sir Cliff Richard’s 50 years in show business. Cliff talks to Sally Magnusson about his faith, work and life over the past five decades.

Recorded in front of an invited audience representing the charities he has supported throughout his career, Sir Cliff describes how his attitude towards others has changed, and how he likes to remain an enigma.

Terror strike: News channels asked to delay live telecast

November 30, 2008

The news channels, which were boasting of fast and latest footage of terror attacks in Mumbai, were finally asked to discontinue live reportage, following the fear of security threat.

Agreeing to the request of the securities agencies, the channels agreed to delay live telecast. Reportedly, the agencies had asked news channels to stop their live coverage of the terrorist activities and rescue operations fearing that the terrorists may get information about their movements.

The news channels, which were on wild run since late night of 26 November, immediately accepted to the request of the agencies.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra government had issued notification to the cable operators on Thursday night, prohibiting transmission of news channels. “We received notification from the state government,” says a cable operator. “We were asked to shut off news channels, and we had to blackout news channels for a brief period.”

A senior executive of a leading news channel confirmed of the development. “There was disruption in the signals in morning as cable operators blacked us out. The issue was resolved in minutes and we are back.”

I&B gives India TV time till 1 December to reply to notice

November 30, 2008

The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has issued a notice to India TV for airing telephonic conversation with two terrorists holed up in Nariman House and The Oberoi Hotel.

Confirming the development to us, a senior I&B official said India TV was given time till 1 December to reply to the notice. The ministry has demanded an explanation from the channel for affording a “platform to terrorists to espouse their cause” and will consider taking “stringent action” after that.

Justifying India TV’s stance, COO Rohit Bansal said: “We will be sending a comprehensive reply to the ministry.”

He said that the telephonic conversations helped security agencies give compelling answers on their accent and provide first-hand confirmation to the world that they had come from Pakistan and not from Hyderabad in the Deccan.

“India TV partnered with the help of security agencies and helped generate specific and information that one terrorist, Shadullah, was using the mobile phone of a Swedish lady, Lisa Ringner, kept hostage in Room No.1856 at The Oberoi. The other terrorist Imran Babar, holed up in Nariman House, was using the phone belonging to another hostage, Holtzberg Gaverlein. India TV repeatedly asked these terrorists to surrender, as they were surrounded by security agencies and appealed to them to release the hostages.”

Defending India TV’s position, Bansal further said: “All across the globe, video/audio messages of Osama Bin Laden and interviews of self-styled commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Taiba have been broadcast by the media. These stories have exposed the perpetrators of terror. The entire objective of India TV was similar. We engaged the two terrorists in on-air conversations and secured vital information about their numbers, intentions and their foreign origin.”

Discovery launches new series Call 911

November 28, 2008

Discovery Channel has kicked off a 20-part series called Call 911, which will air every Friday at 10:30 pm. When emergency strikes, people in the US turn to a help line number 911 in the hope of finding immediate assistance. Discovery’s new show follows actual calls to emergency service 911 to exhibit real human stories of heroism and courage. 

Rajiv Bakshi, director, marketing and communications, Discovery India, said, “Encapsulating surveillance camera footage, panic conversations and recreations of the incidents, Call 911 puts viewers in the midst of heart-thumping crisis and drives curiosity to know what happens next.”

Situations that viewers will witness include people who are trapped in a house on fire, case of a live robbery and a family member who has a fatal heart attack. Revealing the plight of callers in need of help, the show unfolds real drama documented in actual recordings of 911 calls. 

Ranging from life-threatening apartment fire to kidnapping and domestic violence, from armed robbery to unanticipated at-home baby delivery, the programme chronicles varied nerve-wrenching emergency situations.

The calls are recorded and used for solving subsequent emergencies. Instead of playing a few seconds of an emergency call, the programme uses the entire dialogue between the caller and the 911 operator to tell a tale. A few portions of the calls are used in this series to show how the system works.

Fresh episodes from December 1 on Hindi GECs

November 28, 2008

After a forced break since November 10, all the Hindi general entertainment channels will resume the telecast of fresh episodes and new content. 

Television viewers who were deprived of their daily dose of entertainment will see their favorite actors return to television, engaging them with new episodes starting December 1, 2008.

Barring a few shows, most channels have begun shooting for all of their programmes in full swing. Some of the Hindi GECs have also utilised this break to revisit their programming strategies.

For Week 47, the TV ratings of Star Plus and Zee TV have dipped significantly even from the last week of repeat programming. Despite this drop in the lead channels, Colors has stayed the same as last week with 199 GRPs.

Keertan Adyanthaya, executive vice-president and general manager, Star Plus, said, “We are pleased to bring fresh content to all our loyal viewers who’ve missed their daily dose of drama, intrigue and realism because of the ongoing strike called by the FWICE and the Producer’s Guild.”

“As grueling as these last few weeks have been, all broadcasters have stood firm on their stand and our commitment to the viewers continues as we once again showcase engaging and entertaining content from December 1.” Keertan said.

FIPB clears TV18’s proposal to launch South, Gujarati and Channel 3

November 28, 2008


The government has cleared 32 proposals that will bring in Rs 845.70 crore into the country. Proposals from three media firms – TV18, Dow Jones and Lokmat Newspapers were among others taken up by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

The proposals cleared by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on the recommendations of FIPB includes the proposal of Raghav Bahl-promoted Television Eighteen India (TV18) to launch three regional business news channels.

TV18 has proposed to launch CNBC-TV18 South, CNBC-TV18 Gujarati and CNBC-TV18 Channel 3 without any fresh inflow of FDI. Currently, the company operates business news channels like CNBC-TV18 (English) and CNBC Awaaz (Hindi).

Currently, no national broadcaster has any significant presence in the 24-hour regional language business news channel space. However, media groups such as Star India, INX Media, NDTV among others are planning foray into new markets such as West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh among others.

However, a proposal by the US-based Dow Jones & Company to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to carry out publishing of facsimile editions of newspapers was deferred. Dow Jones has sought an approval to acquire up to 100 per cent equity of Wall Street Journal India Publishing for publishing the facsimile edition of foreign newspapers.

Two decades of NDTV

November 28, 2008


In the last two decades, Indian television has been virtually re-invented. Bang at the centre of its evolution stands New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), whose own milestones have virtually been a series of ‘firsts’ for Indian news broadcasting. 

That NDTV was destined to revolutionise tele-viewing in India was a writing that appeared on the wall as early as 1988, a full twenty years before the brand emerged from its embryonic state. 

New Delhi Television, as it was then called, launched a new show, The World This Week. This was the first of its many milestones that would also become the firsts for the Indian telecasting industry. The privately-produced weekly half-hour aired on Friday nights on Doordarshan. 

The show instantly established new standards for objective and credible reporting. NDTV’s reporters were at the scene of every major international event, driving home India’s perspective on world affairs. 

In that sense, New Delhi Television attempted India’s rise to international eminence by being the precursor that established an Indian point of view on world opinion. Till today, Indians all over the world say that Friday nights and The World This Week, belong together, in their collective memory.

Speaking to us, KVL Narayan Rao, CEO, NDTV Group, said, “NDTV has always been a pioneer, the first private producer of news in India, the first with several programming formats, the first to use beta cam, the first to go digital. It has been a remarkable journey – wonderful, enriching, educative and challenging. We began as a production house and are now one of the most credible and respected media houses in the country and this part of the world.”

“We have also transformed from a news organisation to a total media company, moving into entertainment, lifestyle, new media, technology and media outsourcing. That has been a fantastic journey too. News, of course, remains our first love and will always be a huge part of what NDTV is recognised for as we expand into the international arena. The journey ahead is going to be as exciting too and I look forward to the next 20 years and more.” Rao says about the NDTV evolution.

The early commercial and critical success of its flagship programme allowed NDTV to break newer and bigger ground quickly. It became the country’s first private news producer, a beginning that marked the end of the era of government-controlled TV news. As the country’s market leader today, it repeatedly raises the bar for television journalism with award-winning programmes, recognised and knowledgeable reporters, incisive analysis and world-class technology. 

The biggest reward and honour any one in the public domain can hope to achieve is the trust of people. In India, NDTV is seen as an honest, unbiased, fearless crusader. Its sterling reputation built over years of path-breaking journalism is recognised by audiences across the country. 

But even as it enjoys the confidence of the people it is also elated at the professional recognition that it has received from peers and contemporaries. NDTV is the first Indian producer to win an Emmy award for its work. It has also been named the Best Cable and Satellite Channel in Asia by Asian Television Awards. 

The brand is home to the country’s finest broadcast talent. Anchors like Prannoy Roy, Barkha Dutt, Vikram Chandra, Nidhi Kulpati, Sreenivasan Jain, Sonia Verma and Sonali Chander have won several industry awards and have a huge fan following. Shows like We the People, The Big Fight and Jai Jawan have pioneered new formats for television. While anchors, the public face of a channel, are extensively recognised for their reportage it isn’t often that the back boys – the engineering teams which bring telecast into homes – gain prominence. 

At NDTV the engineering team has been internationally acknowledged for its high standards and extensive technological innovations. It has won the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Award for three consecutive years, beating stiff competition from organisations like the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Amongst other international honours are six Promax awards for Outstanding Promos for News and Current Affairs. 

In 1984, a Chartered Accountant who was also a trained psychologist was introduced as the new centre point of televised coverage of India’s general elections. His prediction of the results proved to be uncannily accurate. 

But it was his ability to translate complicated facts into simple analysis that turned Dr. Prannoy Roy into the journalist who India would depend on, night after night, for its news. Since then, Prannoy Roy, chairman of NDTV has anchored thousands of hours of live coverage of Indian elections and the government’s annual budget. 

Equally responsible for leading NDTV’s tremendous growth is Radhika Roy. Her team relies on her editorial expertise to cover breaking news. In the mid 1980s, Radhika, a journalist at the Indian Express, recognised the endless possibilities that TV offered as a news medium. She traveled to the United States to study television and returned to India to co-found NDTV. 

Radhika and Prannoy’s first episode of The World This Week aired on November 25, 1988. The show was a run-away success, providing Doordarshan with a huge weekly hit, bringing in record-breaking revenue. 

“The currency of news journalism is credibility and that has been our main quest always. The winning formula for news channels is ‘ethics and credibility’. It is the only strategy one should have, in the short and the long term. It applies to everything we do. We believe that news is a serious business and we will always be a high quality, credible and responsible journalists and producers. We will not go down the tabloid route ever.” Rao adds.

In an article in The Times of India, it has been rated as one of India’s Top Five Shows since Independence. In 1989, NDTV produced India’s first live televised coverage of the country’s general elections. Six years later in February 1995, NDTV became the country’s first private producer of the national news bulletin The News Tonight. 

In 1998, NDTV was the sole content provider for the 24-hour news channel, Star News. But the company’s biggest milestone was marked on April 14, 2003, when NDTV launched two 24-hour news channels: NDTV 24×7 in English and NDTV India in Hindi. 

In January 2005, the company launched a third 24-hour news channel, NDTV Profit. In September 2007 the company moved into a niche space with an English metro-based channel that is locally focused in both its content and revenue model. Metro Nation Delhi is the first of the five FTA channels the company has rolled out. 

Today, the NDTV network spans the Indian television space with a huge foot print that cuts across ideological barriers and geographical boundaries. It is across this firmament that the brand rules. The company has also launched an entertainment network NDTV Imagine Ltd. 

NDTV has launched Good Times, a lifestyle channel that targets a largely cosmopolitan, socially upbeat audience who lives in style and enjoys every moment of life. NDTV has come together with the Kingfisher Brand in a first-of-its-kind media alliance for the promotion of NDTV Good Times. 

NDTV has launched its first channel outside India in partnership with Astro, a leading South East Asia media group. Astro Awani launched in Indonesia, is a 24-hour news, infotainment and lifestyle channel. NGEN Media Services, a joint venture between NDTV and Genpact, is an industry first, offering post production and other services to companies anywhere in the world.

“Starting November 25, we have launched a series of 3 minutes vignettes encapsulating NDTV’s coverage of various events over the last two decades. Also marking the 20 years celebration, we will be carrying half hour specials once a month over the next one year, which will be on topics as varied as the Tsunami, Kargil, Malnutrition & Hunger, 20 years of Election coverage in India, Gujarat and others.” Rao says about the celebrated aspirations. 

“The first in these series of documentaries would be The Ballad Of The Ballot, which will feature a chronicle of 20 years of NDTV’s tryst with elections, seen from the eyes of the insiders. Who made the coverage what it was. For an event that meant democracy to India , this meant reaching out in new ways. With a fresh pool of ideas, technology and talent.” Rao concludes.

Bindass Movies wins 3 Gold Awards at PROMAX Asia

November 22, 2008

Bindass Movies has been awarded three Gold Awards at the Promax BDA Asia in Singapore on 18 November.

The Talking Posters promo, an Image spot for Bindass Movies, won the Gold in three categories–the Best Comedy Promo, Funniest spot and ‘Something for Nothing’. The awards recognize the ingenuity and skill of the Bindass Movies’ in-house creative services team consisting of creative head Dipankar Bose; supervising producer Prashant Madan, his team; and graphic designer & promo producer Snigdha Rao.

GENX CEO Zarina Mehta said, “We, at Bindass, are absolutely delighted on winning the Golds and very proud of our team who have created something truly innovative with a very constrained budget. It is gratifying to see that our unrelenting efforts in creating an innovative Brand for Young India are being recognised internationally.”

Hrithik Roshan on Zoom’s Bollywood Biographies

November 22, 2008

Zoom will be showcasing Hrithik Roshan on Bollywood Biographies. The episode will be aired on 21 November at 8.30 pm.

Says Kishore Namit Kapoor, “He had never told his parents about his training, and that he wanted to become an actor. He came very quietly. We did a scene from a play, it was a solo scene, so we recorded that and he took the cassette home and he showed it to Rakesh Roshan. Late night, I received a phone from Rakesh Roshan and Mr. Roshan said, ‘ Kishorji I never believed in training but today I have to say with lots of pride a son was born to  me, today a star is born.”

“Kaho Na Pyar Hai became a super blockbuster and Hrithik became a huge name in this country. So much so, that he won the Filmfare award directly in challenge with Shah Rukh Khan who was and is known as the king of Bollywood,” says Sanjay Khan.