February 21, 2005

CNBC -TV18 till I die!

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While I do agree with Mediaah! that Vikram Chandra, Profit’s main man, is a disappointment, I don't agree with the rest of his assessment. NDTV really, really needs to pull up their socks with Profit if they want to stand any chance. CNBC -TV18 is miles ahead when it comes to production quality and news and getting a plum spot on the prime brand on cable networks should not be the lone measure of success for a channel.

Vikram Chandra as an anchor is to put it mildly, 'over animated.' His idea of engaging people is to flap his arms around like a young bird, which is learning to fly, while the other anchors look so detached and distant that you have to be reminded time and again that they are indeed there. The oft-heard cry of "not enough hands on deck" is not a valid excuse for the Profit crew, this is not Doordarshan, remember?

Interestingly, you might be forgiven for thinking that Profit would at least do news -- the one thing that NDTV is supposedly good at -- well. The truth could not be any different from the thought. The news ticker is replete with the most basic of journalistic mistakes, the selection of footage that is used in the half-hourly bulletins are badly cut/edited and miserable. Most of the times, the footage runs on for a couple of seconds even after the anchor is done with the voice over. Thankfully, they have started mixing in the audio from the clips now, instead of muting it out totally.

It is understandable for newly-launched news channels to have trouble in the production control room with their cues and switching between feeds. Star News, when it was launched, set the bar for the faux pas with regard to this, which Profit has lowered even further. The channel, even 35 days after its launch, still cannot get things right on that count. In half an hour of watching Profit, you'll get to see anchors gaping at the camera even after the live feed should have switched away from them, there are programmes that run without any intros or outros and live segments from abroad almost never seem to end.

Over the weekend, when I was watching Saturday Night Live and a handful of other 'outsourced' programmes on Profit, I was hit by a feeling of deja vu. I had a strong feeling that I had seen this concept somewhere before (on CNBC -TV18, no prizes for guessing that one) and even the garb in which I had seen it was very familiar. Looks like Profit has already given up on any attempt to look different. If you cannot beat them by doing something different, you might as well camouflage yourself as them! Sadly, for Profit, they can't quite clone Udayan Mukherjee to complete the attempted con job.