For years now, leading journalists and other members of the media have spoken about how one of the reasons TV News focuses on sensationalizing the news and hosting screaming matches daily is because it drives up their ratings. Apparently, it’s not just the anchors who are to blame but also the audience that tunes in daily to watch the drama when they could just switch to another channel and watch Naagin or Kasauti Zindagi Kay.

Now, according to a report in BestMediaInfo.com written by Niraj Sharma, TV News has become toxic enough to actually affect the advertisers who keep these news channels afloat.

“As a viewer and advertiser, I really feel the news channels have stooped to a pathetic state and if the advertisers have the opportunity to break this vicious cycle, they must do it collectively and be a real purpose-driven brand. While doing this, we should state the reason that we are all doing it because of the content. I agree that such an environment is dangerous for any brand because it comes back to hounding it,” said Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head, Marketing, Parle Products to BestMediaInfo.com.

Everyone is well aware that TV News has chosen to focus on the Sushant Singh Rajput case with every channel (barring maybe NDTV) claiming “explosive exclusive newsbreaks”. We’ve had talking heads come on primetime news channels and shower us with their uninformed opinions about depression and mental health. We’ve seen it become into a slanging match that seeks to villainize everyone associated with the Hindi film industry.

“Amul currently spends 35-40% of its total television budget on news. Undoubtedly, news channels are an important medium to reach out to the consumer and hence you cannot stop advertising on them completely. But, having said that, you can always pressure the ones that do not behave. Without mentioning any particular incident, we can definitely tell them to behave and not to show unwanted aggression,” said Amul’s RS Sodhi.

According to BestMediaInfo.com, the advertisers feel that they should come together and take a stand against the news channels as their questionable ethics are making it unsafe for brands.

“I’m recommending all the leading advertisers to come together and ban the news genre until they are forced to bring sanity and ethics in news back. I’m saying the entire news genre because somewhere they will have to bring in honesty in reporting and not create stories only keeping TRPs in mind, which ultimately is poisoning the same mind,” Krishnarao Buddha of Parle Products said.

“Initially, I thought it would be difficult to bring all advertisers on the same page but it is not impossible if most of the big advertisers think from a perspective of creating a safe environment for their brands and if they continue to be called as purpose-driven brands,” Rao added.

 

“Brand safety should be a bigger concern for TV news nowadays. The language that these channels have been using, I don’t want my kids to be consuming that content and if I think this for my kids, it applies to my brands too. It’s important for us to come together and being responsible is extremely important right now. Every advertiser needs to play that part,” said Pawan Sarda, Group Head, Digital, Marketing, and E-commerce, Future Group told the digital platform.

Here’s hoping that maybe, just maybe, this will get the TV channels to focus on issues like the farm bills and the economy instead of who smoked what last night.