Commenting on the losses made by Indian news channels, Subhash Chandra, chairperson of Zee Entertainment Enterprises and promoter of Essel Group, said here on Wednesday that there was no room for so many news channels, and that there would be correction in the industry soon. He was talking at the Mumbai Press Club after being felicitated for pioneering private, satellite television in India in 1992.
After being felicitated, he was asked questions during a panel discussion by columnist and writer Bachi Karkaria and Editor-in-Chief of CNBC Awaaz Sanjay Pugalia. He said digitisation of TV would benefit the serious players in the business tremendously, as the trivial channels would be blocked.
“Good quality content will attract viewers. The trivial channels will go. Till now, around 70 per cent homes have already installed set-top boxes. By October, there will be 85-90 per cent digitisation,” he said.
Talking of the alleged growing ‘corruption’ in the media industry, he predicted that this would rise further, till correction set things right. “The media isn’t free of corruption. It is a cause for concern. Corruption will rise further. Then there will be correction,” Mr. Chandra said.
The panellists also expressed concern on the rise in the number of frivolous players who have started news channels. “All kinds of people have started news channels to invest their black money and to evade arrest. In such a condition, how will serious journalism thrive? How will we be able to compete?” Mr. Pugalia said. Mr. Chandra said it was a temporary phase, and serious players who would be able to withstand it, would survive.
He said the media industry was growing at a fast pace, and would continue to grow further.
Sharing his memories on media mughal Rupert Murdoch and the love-hate relationship they shared, he said he did not stop Mr. Murdoch from starting DTH (Direct-to-Home) satellite transmission in India. He said that when Mr. Murdoch proposed to start it, the Indian law was silent on it. Immediate amendments were made in the law to disallow it without government permission.