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A Study On Television News Channels In Tamilnadu

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 3272 words Published: 27th Apr 2017

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The Television media which is always the most powerful means of mass communication in the world can serve as the medium of information, education and entertainment and thus television has become an essential part of our life.

“Television is a combination of technology and cultural forms” (Williams, 1975) and as this industry also finds itself at the heart of all kinds of commercial and industry strategies. Television is a medium which is used to express the social concern and the political views creatively. In India it is one of the huge industry which have thousands of programmes in different languages and 50 percent population of every house own a television.

Television in the recent days have grown tremendous because of new markets, cultural introduction, and in situations becoming a challenge to even the government as they bring out the unfamiliar images to the audience.

As television is basically the broadcasting of moving picture and the sound to the audience effectively, most of the time television stays as a remarkable evidence about an issue .As an example, an incident quoted from the book, Screening culture, viewing politics by Purnima Mankekar, November 1984 : A hectic and rewarding year is drawing to close for S.S Gill ,India’s secretary for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. On a special mission authorized by Prime minister Indira Gandhi, he has spent the year setting up hundreds of television transmitters that will draw the remotest corners of the nation into the ambit of Indian television’s newly launched National Programme. Suddenly Mrs.Gandhi is assassinated. Ironically , the first TV images viewers nationwide see are of her body lying in state, and close-ups of her grieving son Rajiv Gandhi. Within a few months , Rajiv Gandhi is elected prime minister .The queen is dead; long live the king. (Mankekar, 1999)The magic of Television has made itself felt. And thus such a power Television owns.

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The Indian media business is still growing with confidence even in this changing position on the world stage. The Government owned Doordarshan was the only channel in the Indian airwaves until 1990’s, but now it has been filled extraordinarily by private channels. With 360 channels currently on air,160 channels waiting for governments permission. Indian television viewers has more choices than anywhere else in the world. More than a hundred million households in India now own at least one television set. Seventy million of them are connected to cable or satellite TV. At their finger tips lie choices galore: movie channels ,music channels ,television soap operas and news broadcasts; CNN and BBC, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Star TV bouquet of channels ,International sports channels and the home grown Zee television all vie for their attention. (Batabyal, 2012)

Media landscape was added with glitz and glamour ,the black and white days are replaced with gloss ,gossip and money. As Hartley argues “News is the sense making practice of modernity; It is an important medium through which we understand ourselves and the world around us, who we are, what we are, our collective likes and dislikes” (Batabyal, 2012).

Television birth and growth in India

Televisions birth in India was started by The All India Radio in September 1959 which was an experimental broadcasting and they had only 2 hours programme per week. The All India radio managed these initial stages of TV broadcasting which was majorly based on educational programmes for farmers and children. The Television services further expanded to other cities of India and thus reached 7 cities of India and at that stage in 1976 Doordarshan which became the sole producer of Television in India separated from the All India Radio and formed a new department purely for Television Broadcasting.

In the year 1982 Doordarshan made national coverage possible for the first time using the satellite INSAT 1A and in the same year colour television also came into market apparently at that stage Doordarshan was the only national channel and it was owned by the government which was further enhanced by the series of Mahabharata and Ramayana and this attracted people and they started buying Television sets. As there was only a single channel and the expectation of the audience was still increasing so as to meet the saturation of television programmes Doordarshan opened up new other channels in many languages like DD National, DD News, DD Sports, DD Gyandarshan, DD Bharati, Loksabha Channel and DD Urdu. In such a way Doordarshan evolved over the years.

As India’s television system grew, not as a medium in its own right but as a response to events and decisions around it. Thus television industry grew, satellite private channels came into existence the 1990’s can be said as the year of private channels because it was from when private channels emerged and audience who was stuck with Doordarshan was ready to shift their interest to the new private channels as always new technologies and new forms emerged attracted the audiences.

As a medium television and the news genre underwent the most spectacular change and growth and thus from only one news channel in 1998, today India has close to 60 24 hours news channels all over the country. In that most of them are national but even they reach international audiences.

Many channels like Star tv, Zee tv in hindi, sun tv in tamil, Asianet in Malayalam ,Eenadu in kannada all started in India.All the major languages in India has a Television in their own language. Thus televisions created India in its own images the media industry was rich, booming and it was ready to compete on the world stage .

In such a way the television industry in India developed and as a other category of channel came up the news channels which was only concentrating on news 24/7 so that people was able to choose the categories of interest on their own.


“The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were” (Brinkley, 1994). “Television news is like a lightning flash. It makes a loud noise, lights up everything around it, leaves everything else in darkness and then is suddenly gone” (Carter, 1994 ).

After all this statements even when the credibility of the television news is still doubted, Television news media, the broadcast journalism in the past decade has come of ages. At present we have television news channels in all major regional languages that are solely dedicated to news alone so that the audience need not wait to see the half an hour news in between the daily soaps in commercial channels. As these news channels give 24/7 news updates fresh , up to date news about what all is happening around the world to us .But this renovation did not happen overnight, the credit of bringing up news channels goes to Rupert Murdoch from Star television network and Dr.Prannoy Roy from NDTV limited. It was them who collaborated and hence was the first ever independent satellite news channel came to small screen and it was known as Star news.

And thus started the Television news industry in India and after the birth of news channel like other industry even in this competitions started ,day by day the number of news channels are increasing in all languages and even the audience are looking forward for a better one everyday.

The development in the news media created a different scenario and it is when the News anchors became the new celebrities in India. With Citizen journalism, live outdoor broadcast vans fitted with the latest technology, talk shows and discussions , analyses and reports, there seems to be no end to the goodies for a nation of viewers who until very recently were served only state propaganda as news . (Batabyal, 2012)

And after all this development to reach the first position in the news channel category ,the news channels are following all sorts of tactics like sensationalizing all issues, making any news a breaking news, not worth sting operations etc which is not giving the people the true sense of news. “News is manufactured by the journalists” (Berkowitz, 1997). Making of news is being followed most of the time which the audience actually don’t expect from the Television news channels.

“Our job is to present fact and truth with clarity, dispassion and neutrality, however inconvenient or dismaying much of that information may be” (Keeble, 2001) The production of news which strives for neutral, factual information is possibly the most important arena in which television carries out its responsibility to inform as well as to entertain its various audiences. They are required to deliver their news with accuracy and impartiality. They must be reliable and also balancing in covering political issues.

With over 40 news channels, almost 100 million television homes and over 200 million viewers weekly, 24 hour news channel are on the upswing. A TAM media research says that television viewership doubling in the past three years , news has emerged as the most sought of genre. While the share of the Hindi news channels has increased by 78%, the English news channels have grown at least four times even as the share of regional news has quadrupled.

Tamil News Channels

The state of Tamil Nadu has the most unbalanced media in the whole of our country India. To achieve a balance in news an individual should watch minimum 2 news channels say to know about DMK party ,how bad it is and its members one should watch Jaya plus and to know how bad is AIADMAK one should watch the Sun news.

As few years back a channel didn’t depend on any political patronage or entertainment because for few years politics, entertainment and news all these comfortably was sharing the same bed in the state. Only in the years 40’s and 50’s During the War of independence period the DMK built its group and they started reading and interpreting the news for the public but later when the cinema became popular the art was mixed with the political propaganda and so Anna and Karunanidhi through their screenplays for cinemas and MGR and Jayalalitha through the screen presence in the cinemas started promoting their propagandas using the cinema as a medium and thus this tradition was followed by them even in the era of television .

Sun tv functioned as tool and campus for the DMK party to promote and influence people about their ideologies and now that place is being occupied by Kalaignar Tv and same way Jaya Tv is functioning as a tool to influence the public about the AIADMK party and their ideologies.

As this monotony was going on in Tamilnadu ,new channels like Puthiya thalaimurai came to existence and they started breaking the political affiliation of a channel with the political party and concentrated on real issues. And according to the TAM report Puthiya thalaimurai is in first position and the reason for that ironically, has to do with politics. “When Jayalalithaa took over the government a year ago, one of the first things she did was to revive a government-owned cable distribution company called Arasu to break the monopoly of Sumangali Cable Vision owned by the Marans. The move had an impact on Sun TV’s revenues. A Citi report earlier this year attributed the decline of cable revenues (it was down 45% year on year) to the revival of Arasu. But it also made the entry for a competitor like Puthiya Thalaimurai channel easier”. (N.S.Ramnath, 2012)

Gnani a popular writer in Tamil says “However, it’s a bit early to say if Puthiya Thalaimurai is having an impact on the way other channels cover news. “A single channel cannot change that. You need more competition for that to happen, and that will take time,”

Various comments and controversies still exist about all the Tamil news channel in Tamilnadu. The details about the existing news channels in Tamilnadu which are popular ssare as follows.

Sun news

Sun group is one of the largest conglomerate in India and started in the year 1992. It is owned by Kalanidhi Maran who is the Chairman and the Managing Director of the Sun network group which is the most profitable television network in the world. It has 32 power packed television channels in different regional languages of India. And Sun network has a reach of about 95 million households in India. The Sun network channels can be viewed by people all over the world including USA, Canada, Europe, Middle east, Singapore, Malaysia , Sri lanka ,South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Sun tv also owns a Sun direct DTH ( Direct to home satellite TV service ) which is a largest service provider in India of more than 7.5 million subscribers.

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Thus Sun network holding 32 top rated channels in India, including the Sun news channel which is solely dedicated only for news telecast, Sun network has got a tremendous reach, frequency and patronage that other groups failed and can’t even compete. “Sun Group believes in giving you wholesome fare. Be it news or entertainment, we are there first. . With Thirty Two Television Channels in four Indian languages and Forty Five FM Radio Stations, we are able to connect to the Southern Diaspora erasing geographical distances. Millions of people all over the world watch Sun Group channels”. (Copyright 2011 Sun Group).

Thus Sun tv news channel is also under the Sun network it is also able to connect with people so much as the other channels of Sun network and Sun news channel reaches the audience worldwide and takes the current news and what is happening around to large amount of people.

Kalaignar Seithigal

Kalaignar tv was started on September 15,2007. Kalaignar tv since when it was started it gave a tough competition to other competitors. “In setting benchmarks, Kalaignar tv is in a league of its own. As a trend-setter, Kalaignar tv has started giving the top channels a run for their money. Its tie-up with the creamy layer of the entertainment industry has opened new vistas to the channel not wary of experimenting to strike gold”. (Kalaignar Tv website).

Kalaignar Tv is owned by Kalaignar Karunanidhi the DMK party leader as he launched the channel after the dispute between Kalanithi Maran and M.K.Azhagiri . They having entertainment , news and currents affairs as their USP, telecasted a bouquet of multi coloured programmes and it was focussing on every individual and their entertainment needs.

Kalaignar Seithigal which is a 24/7 news channel in tamil also belong to the Kalaignar tv network .All over the country it has a tie up with top content providers and the news gathering facilitators so that they focus on not doing different things but doing things differently. They have all top news content providers like Reuters, P.T.I and Asian News International and thus resourceful and giving news to the public in a effective.

Jaya Plus

Jaya tv was founded by J .Jayalalitha the ADMK party leader. Jaya tv is one of the major Tamil language satellite television channels in Chennai. It was started in the month of August 1999.Jaya plus is a 24/7 Tamil news channel solely dedicated to news alone is also a part of Jaya Tv network.

Jaya Tv broadcasting is in India , Middle east , Asia, Australia and New Zealand through Dish network channel. Jaya tv. Jaya TV is one of the early Tamil channels to entertain the Tamil audiences spread across Globe. In today’s world information is the catch word and the Jaya Television Network has capitalised on the increasing demand for news that is unbiased, timely and accurate. (Copyright 2012 Jaya Network).Thus Jaya Plus is a news channel in Tamilnadu which is also one of the major source of news in Tamilnadu.

Puthiya Thalaimurai

Puthiya thalaimurai news channel is a recently launched Tamil news channel in Tamilnadu. It is a regional Indian cable Television started in August 2011.It is new Tv channel in Tamilnadu eroding the influence of Sun News, Kalaignar News and Jaya Plus by being unbiased and focussing on real issues .It is a channel which claims to be independent from political party, and with the punch line “Unmai Udanuk udan” which means truth as it happens.

Puthiya thalaimurai has marked history of becoming number one news channel in Tamilnadu within a short period of 60 days from the day it has launched because of its Back to Back to live news telecast. The TAM ratings released by AC Neilson also mentioned that Pyuthiya Thalaimurai is in its number one position and has scored a Gross Rating Point or GRP of 35.94 on Week 44 across Tamil Nadu. Gnani Sankaran, a political commentator, says PT has kept its promise so far. “Viewers see it as a credible channel, and they have been turning to it.” One of its shows Ayudham Seivom (let’s make tools) – a phrase from a popular song by Bharathiar – is about rural innovations and has turned out to be a huge success. Similarly, Kazham Irangivargal (those who stepped into the battlefield), a programme on entrepreneurs, found a lot of resonance with the audience. Another show, Konjam Soru, Konjam Varalaru (a little bit of food, a little bit of history) is a food programme that also delves deep into history. It has become a hit. (N.S.Ramnath, 2012)

Puthiya thalaimurai 24/7 news channel has positioned itself now as Independent channel and also it is the first channel with High Definition in India as such and also it has attracted the audience because of its bright and clear graphics ,crystal clear appearance , and it has also imported latest broadcast equipments from various sources worldwide as all these factors has enhanced Puthiya Thalaimurai news channel and made it reach the 1st position in News channels in


The channel has also concentrated in the news gathering by sending 3 reporters to cover the cyclone Thane which hit the coastal areas of Tamilnadu and they also hired helicopters and reported about the affected area where they also took some farmers with them on helicopters and even in National issues like Anna Hazare’s protest was covered by the channel in a effective way. Thus Puthiya thalaimurai channel has created a difference and it is having an impact on the way other channels cover news.

Sathiyam Television

Sathiyam tv is a part of Sathiyam Media Vision Private Limited. It is also a 24/7 news channel in Tamilnadu. They give full independence and responsibility to their employees to report the facts with truth and transparency. “We as a company have passion to reach out to the Tamil speaking population world over with the honest and responsible presentation of news and current affairs that reflects the true spirit of journalism and reported with authenticity, clarity and definitive conviction”(Copyright2010 Sathiyam Television).

The Moto of Sathyam Tv is “Yes as Yes and No as No”. Sathiyam Tv aims in giving news in true, integral, understandable and devoid of sensationalism or slander of any kind. They believe in preparing our nation to face the reality of truth and motivate citizens to function based on their individual decisions.


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