1. Aaj Tak remains India’s most watched Hindi news channel after 13 years, how have you managed this?
Aaj Tak has been setting the news agenda for the country since its inception. What makes the leadership even more unshakeable is Aaj Tak’s evolution into nation۪s most trusted news channel. Its meticulousness, suitability of content and inventive presentation style combined with ‘trust’ have ensured its leadership position and have allowed it to rule the news space for 11 successive years.
2. Aaj Tak launched in the UK in 2007 and was part of the MAX Mix then VIEWASIA bundle, how did you find this colloboration?
The collaboration since our launch has been very good, we have grown in the UK market at a steady pace, MAX Mix was a good bouquet which later on got rebranded to View Asia, it always carried one of the best entertainment for the viewers/subscribers.
3. You are now independent in the UK after leaving VIEWASIA and going free-to-air, what prompted this decision?
The market Landscape in the UK has been constantly changing in past few years, lot of channels have moved out from paid subscription model to FTA model with BARB, infact couple of recent launches are also FTA, seems this model has more potential, we want to test the waters as we believe it will gives us better ROI.
[quote]In India we have more than approx 70 news channel but Aaj Tak is number one channel in India for last 11 years[end_quote]
4. Why did you opt of VIEWASIA and go free instead of jumping ship to another rival package/network?
Same as point 3.
5. The UK market is saturated with an influx of Asian entertainment and infotainment channels, how do you plan to differentiate it to other services?
Every market is more or less similar (though UK is a very tough market when you talk international), in India we have more than approx 70 news channel but Aaj Tak is number one channel in India for last 11 years, it is because of people trust our reporting and that is how we are such a big brand in India, we hope to do the same internationally.
6. ABP News and NDTV 24×7 are part of the Sky bundle, it will be a little more difficult for Aaj Tak in terms of revenue generated as news channels are much more difficult to sell in the UK than other territories, how do you plan to change this?
Yes, but lets wait and watch, we are confident that we will achieve our objective.
7. Sponsorship of news programming in the UK is prohibited, which is one source of income for your India territory – do you find this rule a hindrance?
Yes UK norms are very strict in a way which is good but some relief on the advertising side will definitely help.
8. Marketing will be key to push the channel’s awareness in the UK to compete with the likes of ABP News, NDTV 24×7, ARY News and Geo News, what marketing initiatives have you got planned?
Wait until 25th June and you will see us in action, we have opted for effective ways of marketing, we have been working on it for last 4 weeks and expect our campaign to be successful.
[quote]We are very positive about our future, there are some path breaking initiatives that we are executing[end_quote]
9. You have also joined BARB to get your viewership officially measured – how do you think it will do in the UK ratings?
10. Some channels that have joined BARB recently have had to settle with small numbers due to lack of marketing direction, are you prepared either way for your stats?
11. How do you envisage Aaj Tak’s future in the UK?
We are very positive about our future, there are some path breaking initiatives that we are executing as I said wait until we unveil all of them, and things like local programming etc, Tuneinto channel 818.
12. Have you got plans to launch other TV Today Network channels in the UK?
There are always possibilities of doing so, there are things in pipeline which will be unveiled as and when we are ready.
13. In comparison, how does Aaj Tak and Headlines Today sit in the USA/Canada markets?
We are the most watched channel in the US in the news segment as per our distribution partners in these markets.
14. Future plans…
Target is to be available globally where ever there is a Indian Diaspora (which is almost every where globally), we are aggressively working on our plans and keep following us as we will be announcing deals shortly.
BizAsia would like to thank Joy Chakraborthy for his time and wishes the channel the best of luck. Aaj Tak is available free-to-air on Sky Digital channel 818.